It might look like a perfect sphere to you and I but scientists have declared that the Moon is most definitely “lemon-shaped”.
Researchers from the University of California published a new study in the journal Nature that uses advanced laser technology to smooth over the craggy lunar surface (one of the traditional difficulties in accurately measuring the Moon) and concludes that our satellite is “surprisingly distorted”.
Like our own planet, the Moon has an equatorial bulge and is slightly flattened on the top and bottom - but unlike the Earth this paunch is only on one side. “Like a lemon with an equatorial bulge,” said Professor Ian Garrick-Bethell, a planetary scientist and author of the study.
However, while the Earth’s oblate spheroid nature is explained by the vast rotational forces caused by it spinning around (it turns at a quite staggering rate of around 1000 miles an hour) the Moon barely spins at all - so why is it so lumpy?
I think of all the -ographies, “selenography” is my favorite.
Enjoy these historical atlases of the moon, the earliest studies of the moon’s surface features (AKA “selenography”). The above were drawn by:
- Michel van Langren (1645)
- Johannes Hevelius (1647)
- Giovanni Cassini (1679)
- Tobias Mayer (1749)
- Richard Andree (1881)
- Henry White Warren (1879)
Previously: Check out Galileo’s watercolor illustrations of the moon, and find out how a few simple sketches realigned the heavens.
Five PhD students have come up with a maths formula to rate and rank best city pubs.
By day they can be found in laboratories researching subjects such as ecology, palaeontology and biomass gasification.
But by night, these five science PhD students have been tackling an entirely different - some would say far more important - study.
The quintet have been on a mission - using stats, facts and a touch of maths - to discover the best pub in Sheffield.