December 08, 2005
Posted by scott at December 08, 2005 11:52 AM
Space.com is carrying an article detailing the discovery of something you'd never expect to see on the moon:
Every lunar morning, when the sun first peeks over the dusty soil of the moon after two weeks of frigid lunar night, a strange storm stirs the surface.
The next time you see the moon, trace your finger along the terminator, the dividing line between lunar night and day. That's where the storm is. It's a long and skinny dust storm, stretching all the way from the north pole to the south pole, swirling across the surface, following the terminator as sunrise ceaselessly sweeps around the moon.
Pretty neat trick, considering there's no atmosphere with which to create weather.
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I thought it had a very, very light atmosphere. So light it's basically a vacuum, but still...
maybe something electrostatic or what have you. As the amount of energy should increase by a few orders of magnitude with the sun hitting the dust, it might lead to some sort of energy boost that causes the dust particles to move - or that the photons hitting the dust can cause movement themselves (since it goes from basically nothing to huge amounts of energy within milliseconds or some other smaller timeframe).
I seem to remember some sort of scientific test we did in 8th grade - you had a flat piece of metal that could spin enclosed in a vacuum-keeping glass bubble. When light hit it, it started to spin. Same concept, no?