People on earth who"ve acquired sunburns are acquainted with the sun"s an effective rays — but the moon suffers native sunburn, too.

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Some areas of the lunar surface exhibit a distinctive sample of darker and lighter swirls. Utilizing NASA"s ARTEMIS mission — which represents Acceleration, Reconnection, Turbulence and also Electrodynamics of the Moon"s communication with the sunlight — astronomers have revealed new clues about the origin of this swirls.

The sun releases a consistent flow of fee particles recognized as solar wind right into If Earth"s organic magnetic ar deflects solar-wind particles, the moon has a weaker magnetic field, leaving some areas of the lunar surface ar exposed to the sun"s damaging radiation, follow to a statement indigenous NASA.

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Unlike Earth, the moon doesn"t have actually a an international magnetic field. Rather, magnetized rocks near the lunar surface produce small, localized magnetic areas that extend only a short distance, follow to the statement.

"The magnetic areas in some areas are locally acting as this magnetic sunscreen," Andrew Poppe, a scientist in ~ the college of California, Berkeley, said in the statement.


The Reiner Gamma lunar swirl photographed by NASA"s Lunar reconnaissance Orbiter is an instance of the moon"s "sunburn." (Image credit: NASA LRO WAC scientific research team)

These small "bubbles" of defense deflect few of the damaging solar-wind particles. Together a result, light-colored swirls type in the shielded areas. However, the bordering areas become remarkable darker.

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"You know, periodically you placed on sunscreen and also you miss a tiny tiny bit and then you have a yes, really bright red spot on you her skin wherein you to let go it," Poppe claimed in a NASA video explaining the discovery. "That"s, in part ways, the analogy because that the an ar of the moon that is extra exposed."

The team hopes the result will help protect astronauts native the harmful impacts of radiation during future objectives to the moon. Although the moon"s crustal magnetic fields may no be strong enough alone to protect astronauts, it may be feasible to produce a more powerful magnetic field artificially, Poppe said in the video.

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Samantha Mathewson join together an intern in the summer the 2016. She got a B.A. In Journalism and also Environmental science at the college of brand-new Haven, in Connecticut. Previously, she work has been released in Nature people News. Once not creating or reading around science, Samantha enjoys travel to new places and taking photos! You have the right to follow her on Twitter