For many years scientists have debated the origin of the slightly elevated, bright regions that are clearly visible on the surface of our Moon. Now, scientists believe that they have found the best explanation for the lunar swirls: comet collisions and they also conducted an experiment to prove their theory.
Researchers from Brown University were the ones to conclude that the explanation for the wispy regions of the moon has to lie in the violent impact that happened when comets crashed onto the surface of the Moon.
Brown researchers, built an extremely modern computer that recreated perfectly what would the moon`s soil look like after it had been hit by several comets. One of the lead experts that led the research, Dr. Peter Schulz believed since the `80s that this was in fact the reason behind the twisty bright regions found on the moon was a comet collision.
The swirly regions also are a lot brighter than the terrain which surrounds them and another curious fact about them is that the magnetism in those specific areas is far greater than the one on the moon, so whatever the cause of the swirls, it had to fit all three criteria.
Schultz believes that the brightness of the swirls comes from gaseous atmosphere, but how did this atmospheric anomaly come to be in the swirly regions? The explanation is that comets can travel along with a gaseous atmosphere of their own, which is called a coma. Upon impact, some of the gas can be attracted to the lunar surface and stay there.
The magnetism of the area can be explained through a comet collision as well. Once the comet, impacts the Moon`s surface, iron particles from the soil are melted and then cooled. After this happens, the iron particles can record and reflect better the magnetism of the comet that impacted the soil.
And as for the shape of the lunar crests, they can easily be explained by the comet`s impact which has shifted the soil, causing something similar to a swirl in the region where it hit.
Most of the lunar swirls are on the dark side of the moon so they cannot be easily studied, but one of the largest wispy region of this kind can be found on the moon`s bright side. The famous swirly region is called the Reiner Gamma and it can be observed easily with a telescope. The Reiner Gamma is located on the southwestern side of the moon`s near part.
Image Source: wired