Children and even adults often draw a comet with a star and a long tail. You draw the sun with a circle and sticks, and the moon is represented as a quarter moon or a circle.
However, if we really had to represent the moon as it is in the universe, we would also have to make a “tail” for it, like for the comet! Our human eye cannot yet see this long particle tail, but it does exist! This almost magical tail was discovered in the 1990s, explains the New York Times.
Our eyes cannot see it and yet!
This “moon tail” is a subject that has fascinated scientists all over the world. And besides, they finally think they know where this strange phenomenon comes from! Attention it will tremble! In fact, this strange tail appears to have come from impacts from meteorites and asteroids! This proves that this Earth’s satellite is much more dynamic than you might think.
According to the study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, the tail is actually a flow of sodium particles that were torn out by the impact. If they cling to the moon in a long tail, it is because they are excited by photons from the sun! “It makes the moon look like a comet (…) A river of things flows out of it. “Explains Jeffrey Baumgardner, Principal Investigator at the Center for Space Physics at Boston University
The animation shows how sodium atoms ejected from the lunar surface are affected by the moon’s orbit around planet earth. Video by James O’Donoghue / @ PhysicsJ, based on simulations by Jody K. Wilson.
How does she get around?
The tail is behind the moon in its orbit around the earth. This is why the appearance of a straight line is perceived from our earth and with a camera powerful enough to see it!
Even if the study’s authors have no a priori practical or useful application for scientists, it is still fascinating. It is still the case that such a “magical” spectacle cannot be seen by our poor human eyes … It must be great!