LRO photographed the ray system of the crater Giordano Bruno

The LRO mission support group has published a curious snapshot of the lunar surface. It demonstrates one of the rays surrounding the crater Giordano Bruno.

Ray stretching from the crater Giordano Bruno. Source: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

Anyone who has ever looked at the Moon using optics has probably paid attention to the characteristic bright rays that stretch from some of its craters. These structures are of shock origin.

When any large celestial body collides with the Moon, it knocks out a large amount of material from under its surface. It flies in all directions (and some fragments can gain such a high speed that they will fly into space forever), and then falls out, forming secondary craters. Since the dislodged material is generally lighter than the lunar regolith, this leads to the fact that the funnel formed as a result of the collision is surrounded by a bright area from which the characteristic rays stretch.

Over time, the dislodged material darkens due to the bombardment of micrometeorites and the effects of cosmic radiation. Therefore, only the “freshest” craters, which age no more than a billion years, have radiation systems on the Moon.

Giordano Bruno crater. Source: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

As for the LRO image, it captures the ray of the 22-kilometer crater Giordano Bruno. It is located on the border between the visible and the reverse side of the moon. Despite the relatively modest size by the standards of lunar impact formations, the crater is surrounded by a very bright ray system, which indicates its exceptional youth. There is a theory that it was formed in 1178, when monks from Canterbury observed the “splitting” of the upper horn of the Moon in a place roughly corresponding to its location. But still, most astronomers believe that the shock formation was produced long before that.

Earlier we talked about how LRO photographed the south pole of the Moon.

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