May 30, 2004

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A Weird Moon


Image Credit: NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center, data from NOAA GOES

A Weird Moon

Perhaps the Moon, in racing to circle the Earth in just 27 days, has torqued itself into a new shape. Or maybe the scanning platforms of the GOES weather satellites cause the elliptical and tilted shape. NASA scientists appear to favor the second idea: "The moon looks skewed because the satellite is panning at 15 degree per hour to follow the earth, so that every other scan of background objects appear 4.4 seconds later and eastward in the sequence. The east-west slewing makes groups of two 8-detector scans close together at the west side and far apart at the east side. A comparison between moon shots by GOES-7 and GOES-8 shows how differently the satellites operate, and how much the moon's appearance changes over the months due to variations in the moon's orbit and rotation."

Technical Details:
All in the text above!

Related Links:
GOES Science

Yesterday's LPOD: Moonsliver over Lyman Hill

Tomorrow's LPOD: Ten Day Old Moon

Author & Editor:
Charles A. Wood



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