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Lunar Reconnaissance Orbital Spy Movement of Shadows Near the Moon’s South Pole

At the North and South Poles of the Moon, the Sun is never more than 1.5 ° above or below the horizon. The resulting pattern of daylight and shadows is different from anywhere else on the moon – or on Earth. After approaching a small lunar mountainous area near the South Pole, this visualization recreates the conditions of illumination there for a period of two lunar days equal to two months on Earth.

So close to the pole, the sun does not rise and set. Instead, as the moon rotates on its axis, the sun orbits the horizon, orbiting the terrain for 360 degrees. The mountains at a distance of 1

20 km cast shadows on the landscape. When the Sun is at such a low angle, it can never reach the floors of some deep craters. Places that the sun never reaches are known as permanently shaded regions. They are the locations of some of the coldest places in the solar system and therefore they capture volatile chemicals, including water ice, which will immediately sublimate (transform directly from solid to gas) in the harsh, airless sun that falls on most others. places on the moon.

The Sun seems to travel in a circle at the poles of the Earth, but it also travels through a number of heights. For example, from the vernal equinox to the summer solstice, the sun rises higher in the sky, reaching a height of 23.4 °. He embraces the horizon for only a few days around the equinoxes. At the poles of the moon is the sun always near the horizon, and the shadows are continuously long, covering the surface with the changing solar azimuth.

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