Lunar swirls: Strange patterns on the moon may be created by dips in the surface

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We don’t know what causes strange bright features on the moon called lunar swirls, but a new analysis has discovered surprising hints that they are found where the ground is lower



Space



23 March 2022

This image shows the swirl region within Mare Ingenii. The bright and dark swirl pattern is stark against the lunar mare terrain. The images are from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) extracted from the LROC quickmap (https://quickmap.lroc.asu.edu/).

Photo taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter camera showing the swirl region within Mare Ingenii

NASA/GSFC/ASU

Strange bright patterns on the moon’s surface called lunar swirls don’t seem to be simply draped across the ground, as researchers thought, but instead correlate with topographical changes. This means they may be more complicated than we realised.

The swirls, which resemble cream being stirred into coffee, range in size from a few metres across to more than 50 kilometres, and they have been spotted all over the surface of the moon. But their nature …

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