Colorized and Normal Moon

August 07, 2008


Provided and Copyright by: Steve Irvine
Summary Author and Editor: Steve Irvine

The image of the Moon shown on the right is how we usually think of it; various shades of gray. Digital enhancement tells a different story. The image on the left is from the same base photograph, but the inherent colors have been enhanced to show them more distinctly. Different rock types on the surface show up as different colors. Titanium rich lunar magmas look dark green-blue in the lava flooded regions, as do the iron-titanium oxide (ilmenite) regions. Metal poor basalts look orange.

The light turquoise in the lower right quarter of the Moon is the ejecta blanket from countless crater-forming impacts in the region. There’s a distinctive white area around the 53 mile (85 km) wide crater Tycho. This shows Tycho to be a relatively young (about 100 million years) crater that formed much later than most of the other nearby craters since its ejecta lies on top of the others. There has been some intriguing research recently that suggests that the impactor that created Tycho may have been a sibling to the impactor that hit the Earth 65 million years ago, leading to the extinction of many dinosaurs. Both impactors may have been large chunks of rock broken off an asteroid, called 298 Baptistina, when it collided with another asteroid some 160 million years ago. Photo taken from Big Bay, Ontario on October 25, 2007.