Astronomers believed that the moon was an inert place where impact from celestial bodies like meteors changes the lunar dust was the only reason behind change in lunar dust. However, researchers have found something unexpected while observing the solar wind falling on the lunar surface. According to Scientists at the Swedish Institute of Space Physics and Umea University in Sweden, they had measured a strong and varied interaction between the Moon and solar wind. In addition, nearly 10 percent of the solar winds get reflected back into space.
Scientists considered the moon as an inert place without any weather where impact from celestial bodies like meteors changes the lunar dust. However, astronomers have discovered something that contradicts the previous belief. According to researchers, the lunar space environment is becoming much more active.
The researchers have further reported that they made use of particle instrument, Sub-keV Atoms Reflecting Analyser also commonly known as SARA. It travelled to the Moon on board the Indian satellite, Chandrayan-1 in 2008. The Solar Wind is a regular flow of plasma from the Sun that influences planets in the Solar system and contributes to causing aurora on Earth, they elaborate in detail.
While, the lunar atmosphere boasts a too thin layer to display the phenomenon and due to the lower magnetic field of the Moon it id hard to regulate the Solar Wind. However, it passively absorbs solar wind without noticeably affecting the surroundings. But the study contradicts the facts and suggested the magnetic field of the Moon reflects some of the solar wind.
“This knowledge is of great importance to the lunar space environment which is affected both on the lunar dayside and nightside surfaces,” said Charles Lue, a researcher at Swedish Institute of Space Physics.
Meanwhile, the astronomers noted that the reflected solar wind ions move in spiral tracks that start taking them from the lunar dayside to the lunar night side, where the solar wind strikes first. Also, the regions with an intense magnetic field, the flow of wind is restricted on the surface at the same time when the adjacent regions receive a sudden hike in the flow. Apparently, this has effect for long terms on the Moon’s surface and the water levels in the lunar crust.
“The effects can even be seen in the form of visible light – like bright swirls imprinted on the surface of the moon,” Lue further added. “The observations help us map and understand the variations in the lunar space environment. They also give us clues about the physical processes involved and the long-term effects they have on the lunar surface.”