This page is an experiment to focus on rare thoughts and weird questions related to Earth's natural satellite (the moon), to strange optical phenomena, and to hypothetical (or imaginary) sphere-shaped objects the size of our moon, in orbit around Earth.
It is an appendix to the very interesting scientific Vsauce contributions on YouTube (all sorts of curious topics such as: "How would it be like if our moon orbited earth at the same distance as the International Space Station?", etcetera...).
All questions below are those from - DannyCaes Sep 14, 2016
If you, dear reader, also have rather odd or eccentric (yet scientific) questions, please add them into this page!
The moon as a giant globe of water
How would it look like if our moon was made of pure crystal-clear water? I don't think it would appear transparent. Just a grey ball with the same phases as our known moon, and a somewhat diffuse looking reflection of the sun on its sunward surface.
Imagine the moon's appearance as a giant transparent globe of water with smooth ripple-less or wave-less surface, then... we would see the internal spectral colored reflections responsible for the Primary and Secondary Rainbows, and perhaps also the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth internal reflections, responsible for the high-order rainbows which could only made visible via digital enhancement (the third and fourth rainbows are recently photographed via digital techniques, see Les Cowley's Atmospheric Optics pages).
Imagine the appearance of the extremely bright internal solar reflection which is responsible for the Primary Rainbow (at 42° from the anti-solar point). Our water-moon could throw one of the colors of the spectrum on the night side of Earth!
An imaginary humid lunar atmosphere
Imagine rain on the moon, then... would the moon's surface (regolith/ rocks/ boulders) look much more colored? (an equivalent of the known phenomenon of terrestrial ground which looks much more dark and colored when it's wet, because of rain).
The sun as a blacklight
If the sun would cast the typical dark indigo-purplish hue of a blacklight, instead of its commonly known yellowish white shine, then... would the moon's surface look like some sort of gigantic collection of fluorescent (or phosphorescent) minerals and rocks? (something which is seen in a shop or museum of geological treasures).
The moon's regolith layer made of transparent glass spherules
If the moon's upper surface (the dusty regolith layer) was made of minute transparent glass spherules, then... could we see something of it while observing the moon through a telescope? Yes, especially when the moon's location would be at the angle 22°30' from the anti-solar point (the point at 180° from the sun). At 22°30' one of the colors of the spectrum would appear at the sunlit regolith, because: transparent glassy spherules show their own Primary "Rain"-bow at the angle 22°30' from the anti-solar point.
Which means: twice in a lunation we would see a colorful moon, at 22°30' before and at 22°30' after the moon's "conjunction" with the anti-solar point at 180° from the sun (urgent: we need a graphic three-dimensional presentation of such a lunation!).
The real cause of the red-colored Transient Lunar Phenomena?
The astronauts of the Apollo program detected glassy spherules on (and in) the regolith, but, unfortunately these spherules are not really geometrically sphere-shaped and not 100 percent transparent to show the spectral colors of the Primary "Rain"-bow. Are there perhaps distinct fields on the moon composed of perfect glass spherules? If so, they might be the cause of red-colored TLP appearances once observed by observers such as Harold Hill (see the Lichtenberg case in his book A Portfolio of Lunar Drawings).
Mirror on the moon's surface
If we want to observe the minute starlike speck of reflected sunlight (from a common mirror on the moon's surface) through telescopes on earth, how large should that mirror be? One square metre? Ten square metres? One-hundred square metres?
See also the Lunar Heliotrope Project - Project PHAROS.
Apollo 14's Modularized Equipment Transporter (MET) created "white" tracks on the lunar regolith
Thus they appear on Al Shepard's and Ed Mitchell's eastward-made Hasselblad photographs, with the local morning sun's location at a angle of less than 45 degrees above the tracks. If the whole of the moon was visited by the wheels of the MET, how would the crescent moon look like as seen from earth? Much more "white" than usual?
The "white" MET tracks of Apollo 14:
AS14-67-9367 and 9368
Possible specular reflection on a lunar rock near the landingsite of APOLLO 14
Surface Hasselblads AS14-66-9281, 9282, and 9283 were made in eastern direction, toward the slopes of the distant Cone crater. These three images show lots of shadowed dimple craterlets (upsun photographs). In each one of these three images, a curious bright dot is visible below and to the left of the sun's position (the dot is located on the lunar surface). Could it be that this bright dot is some sort of solar reflection at a rock's mirror-like flat surface? Was this bright dot noticed before?
The High-Resolution scans of these three upsun Hasselblads:
Slightly brownish colored crescent moon?
The apollo astronauts mentioned the visibility of some sort of brownish hue of the lunar surface when it was observed from orbit, especially when the radial angle sun-surface was small (in other words: during upsun observations). Is this optical phenomenon also noticeable from earth during Waxing Crescent moon and Waning Crescent moon?
A bucket of water on the surface of the moon
Is this possible? Could a just landed astronaut bring out a bucket of water to the surface of the moon? Suppose we have a decompression room up there in which we could "turn" the water very slowly into, say, a Zero Bar condition without the appearance of boiling bubbles...
Imagine an astronaut pouring decompressed bubble-less water upon the lunar regolith...
Orbital globe made of artificial satellites
If all of the orbital artificial satellites and rocket boosters since 1957 (Sputnik 1) could be collected to become one solid mass or globe of metal plus other artificially created materials, then... what would be the diameter of that globe? Less than 100 meters? 100 meters? 500 meters? 1000 meters? More than 1000 meters? The size of a small asteroid?
Daylight comet and faux lunar terminator
Could a daylight comet of several "minus magnitudes" become bright enough to create some sort of faux lunar terminator?
Bright comet's tail behind the silhouette of the moon's nocturnal part?
Could the moon's nocturnal part (during Waxing Crescent phase or Waning Crescent phase) become visible as a silhouette "in" the bright tail of a large daylight-comet?
In other words; could the tail of a bright daylight-comet become much more luminous than the ashen light of the moon's nocturnal part? (observed during Waxing Crescent or Waning Crescent phases) (very young moon / very old moon). I guess the appearance of a comet is at its brightest when the angular distance to the sun is very small.
Silhouette of the (very young or very old) moon's orb observable in the brightest part of the sun's corona?
Is the brightest part of the sun's corona capable of showing the bright ashen light of the moon's nocturnal part as a silhouette? Is this ever observed from orbit around earth? (note: on earth itself it is impossible to observe that phenomenon because just before and just after a Total Solar Eclipse the sky near the sun looks just white).
Is there really a dark side on the moon?
Yes, once in a lunar month, when the moon's nearside is Full. Only then, the moon's farside is illuminated by some distant planets at opposition, the Gegenschein, the stars, and our galaxy, of which the combined light of all of them is much too dim to cast something of a shine on the lunar soil. We could say it is just pitch black. Planet Jupiter is the brightest one of the sunlight reflecting bodies in the outer planetary system, but... much too dim to throw optically perceptible light on the moon's regolith. Even the young bowl shaped high-albedo ray craterlets appear pitch black in the reflected sunlight from Jupiter. Perhaps a very bright supernova could throw some visible light on the moon's dark side...
If the moon's surface would look white as a sheet of paper or a carpet of snow, then there would be something noticeable of the reflected sunlight from Jupiter (see M.G.J.Minnaert's experiment to catch the light of Venus and/or Jupiter on a sheet of white paper).
Visibility of an unusual shine on the First Quarter Moon's nocturnal part during daylight circumstances?
It is (or it seems) impossible, but... I remember an observation of this phenomenon mentioned in one of the Sky & Telescopes of 1992 (??). I don't know if this phenomenon is described somewhere on the web (?). If this phenomenon is real, then there must be a very powerful lightsource in the neighbourhood of the observer on earth, to create the effect of retro-reflectivity on the moon's nocturnal part (see also the Ashen-light effect during Waxing Crescent or Waning Crescent phases, or during a Total Solar Eclipse).
Temporary unusual brightenings of the Ashen-light on the moon's nocturnal part?
Is the colorless Cloudbow (a "cousin" of the Primary Rainbow in earth's atmosphere) responsible for temporary brightenings of the moon's Ashen-light?
Is the spectral colored Glory responsible for the brightness of the Ashen-light during a Total Solar Eclipse?
Is it possible to observe a magenta-colored solar protuberance from the moon's surface just before sunrise and just after sunset?
Imagine this kind of pre-sunrise/ post-sunset phenomenon as it is seen from a location on the moon, slightly west of the morning terminator or slightly east of the evening terminator. Is such a magenta-colored protuberance bright enough to cast some sort of pink colored shine on a pure white screen? Or... is the sun's corona much too bright? (would there be only the shine of the corona on the screen?).
Apollo astronauts and linear polarizers
It must have been very interesting to watch the diffuse spot of the sun's reflection on earth's oceans through a rotating linear polarizer, this during earth's Waning Crescent phase (seen from the distance earth-moon). Were there linear polarizers aboard the Apollo spaceships?
Lunar Dust Levitation / Lunar Dust Migration
If both LDL (Lunar Dust Levitation) and LDM (Lunar Dust Migration) are real phenomena, then... is it perhaps possible to detect something of this levitating dust through very powerful telescopes, for example during a Partial Solar Eclipse? (partial silhouette of the moon's orb and slightly darker appearance of the sun's photosphere very near the moon's limb) (note that LDL and LDM are lunar terminator phenomena).
A layer of levitated regolith on the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) of Apollo 17?
If... the unmanned lunar rover AUDI LUNAR QUATRO is indeed on its way to the landingsite of Apollo 17 to inspect the condition of the LRV once called Challenger's Baby, then... what would it see? A dirty contraption full of regolith? (the result of 45 years of LDL, Lunar Dust Levitation).
Are certain traces of the Green Ray (Green Flash) and the Novaja Zemlja effect visible on a totally eclipsed moon?
Are the rare bluish or greenish colorations in the copper red (or brownish red) shadow of earth (on the moon) the result of the extended projection of the optical phenomena known as the Green Ray (aka Green Flash) and the Novaja Zemlja effect in Earth's atmosphere?
Gaseous protuberances at or near the moon's polar limb areas?
Many of the ancient lunar observers noticed something which looked like some sort of gaseous protuberances at or near the moon's polar limb areas. What could have been these odd appearances? Traces of some sort of weak internal activity? Some sort of equivalent of the geyser-like gaseous plumes detected by interplanetary probes at several moons of the giant planets Jupiter and Saturn? Is the same sort of phenomenon also noticeable at our own moon? Could we say that the moons in our solar system are more-or-less like giant comet nuclei? (appearances of gas and dust plumes).
Lunar auroral streamers?
Sounds impossible. If lunar auroral streamers are real, they should have been photographed by today's dedicated observers and photographers of the moon's polar areas. It might be interesting to compile a catalog of observers who thought that they noticed something like lunar auroral streamers.
- Valdemar Axel Firsoff: 24th of May 1955 (see his book The Old Moon and the New, 1969, page 224).
If our sun would appear as a very bright pointlike (star-like) lightsource, how would the Primary and Secondary Rainbows look like?
- Much more saturated colors (pure Red-Green-Blue) (R-G-B).
- No overlap of the three basic colors. No orange, no yellow, and no yellowish green between the Red and the Green. No Cyan-blue between the Green and the Blue.
- Much more supernumerary arcs at the "inside" of the Primary Rainbow, and also at the "outside" of the Secondary Rainbow.
And how would the colors of the Circumzenithal and Circumhorizontal arcs appear? (these are the most colorful HALO-phenomena, according to M.G.J.Minnaert they are much more colorful than the commonly known Primary and Secondary Rainbows). Again: three saturated colors (pure Red-Green-Blue). No orange, no yellow, no yellowish green, no Cyan-blue.
Other optical atmospheric phenomena which would appear RGB-colored: the Glory (aka Brocken spectre), the Aureole (around the sun), and perhaps also Iridescent clouds. And... much more supernumerary arcs inside the Primary Fogbow and at the outside of the Glory.
Are the optical phenomena Glory (aka Brocken spectre) and Cloudbow (aka Circle of Ulloa) also observable from Low Earth Orbit?
Perhaps parts of them, as long as there are clouds at the exact locations of both phenomena. Note that this kind of optical phenomena (the Glory - the Cloudbow) always show their own unchangeable radial diameters. The distance between the observer's eyes and the location of the phenomenon's appearance doesn't change its radial diameter. In other words, all of the clouds on the whole of the distant Full Earth could be occupied by the Glory!
Perhaps (I said: PERHAPS) there are astronauts aboard the I.S.S. who pay attention in their Cupola, to look for the Glory and the Cloudbow, and to try to make photographs of these optical phenomena... (I hope that they really know what the Glory and the Cloudbow are...).
Are there parts of the optical phenomenon Glory visible on photographs of the Full Earth as seen from (or very near) the Moon when there's a Total Solar Eclipse somewhere on the Full Earth's disc?
The B-and-W photograph made by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) during the Total Solar Eclipse of August 21st, 2017 (the Great Eclipse of the USA), shows, as expected, the Umbra and Penumbra of the moon, but... if this photograph was made as an enhanced color-contrast image, would it show parts of the spectral colored Glory in the clouds around the moon's shadow?
For the B-and-W photograph of the Full Earth with the moon's shadow on it as seen from the Moon, see APOD 31-8-2017, and also LROC article number 980.
Was Isaac Newton wrong?
How did Isaac Newton introduced the color VIOLET into his spectrum? (the odd pink-like appendix at the blue end of the spectrum). I think he observed the Primary Rainbow and noticed the overlap of the Ultramarine-blue (of the Primary Rainbow) and the red of the first Supernumerary arc at the "inside" of the Primary Rainbow (creating the color Magenta) (deep pink). In these days he (Newton) didn't knew of the existence of Supernumerary arcs (an optical interference phenomenon in very small raindrops). This is the reason why children at school still hear about the (so-called) colors of the spectrum: "red, orange, yellow, green, blue, Indigo-blue, violet" (it should be: RED, GREEN, BLUE, and that's all) (the R-G-B colors from J.C.Maxwell). I guess J.W.Goethe was also aware of Newton's odd way of thinking (see Goethe's Farbenlehre).
If you want to see Goethe's spectrum you should do your own experiment with the prism and ray of spectral colored sunlight. The projected image of the spectrum shows the schoolish spectral colors, only at small classroom-distance from the prism. At a much larger distance there will be only three colors: Red, Green, and the very deep Ultramarine-blue (see wiki-illustration Goethe's spectrum).
Afraid of the rainbow?
This is perhaps the most unusual question of all. Do some people have irisphobia? From what I know from my childhood I think it must be a certain branch of psychology which is indeed real. The Primary and Secondary Rainbows are part of the series of other sky phenomena of which people are afraid: aurora (polar lights), lightning, halo displays (especially around the Full Moon), bright giant comets, odd colorations of the sky, etc...
This phobia is the result of the way teachers wanted us to think at school (horizontal thinking and forward looking, without watching the sky from time to time). A newborn child want to absorb the appearance of the surrounding world as in some sort of omniversum (up, down, left, right, every possible direction). At school we are forced to avoid looking upward, downward, leftward, rightward, we should only look forward. Only in road-traffic we are forced to look leftward and rightward. We live in a horizontal world. Sky phenomena seem to appear in some sort of unreachable other dimension (upward).
Is large-scale marine bioluminescence observable from orbit? Is it seen and photographed by astronauts in the orbiting International Space Station?
There is a phenomenon called white water or milky sea. The whole of the sea's surface (as seen from the beach) is glowing a diffuse milky light. See descriptions in the book Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and related luminous phenomena (W.R.Corliss, The Sourcebook Project). Now, if this is really such a large phenomenon, then it should be visible from distances much larger than several kilometers...
See also: Milky seas effect, aka Mareel
Is it possible to catch bright light from Alpha Canis Majoris (Sirius) when it is reflected by the thousands of mirrors from a huge Solar Furnace?
How would the multi-reflected image of Sirius look like if we could hold our head at the location of the focal spot? (in other words; at the spot where the sun's light could melt a piece of metal). How would it look like with the light of the Full Moon? Would there be something like a minute temperature-rise? (perhaps a thousandth of one degree Celsius?) (or perhaps just nothing?).
Imagine the view of thousands of Sirius-images reflected by the mirrors of a solar furnace, each one twinkling in its own individual way!
Was the recently discovered auroral phenomenon called STEVE (or S.T.E.V.E.) already known in the 19th century?
Yes, because there are lots of eye-witness reports from the 19th century in W.R.Corliss's book LIGHTNING, AURORAS, NOCTURNAL LIGHTS, AND RELATED LUMINOUS PHENOMENA (Sourcebook Project, 1982). In his book, he calls this phenomenon SKY-SPANNING AURORAL ARCHES (section GLA-2, page 10).
See also the Astronomy Picture Of The Day (APOD) from October the 14th, 2017 - All-Sky STEVE
What was the meaning of the blue or red colored neck-rings of Apollo's LEVA suits?
(see NASA's formal portrait-photographs of the Apollo astronauts).
I need this sort of lunar optics- or Apollo-related brain gymnastics because without it there's just mental boredom. And boredom is the cause of early dementia. I can't live in a blunt world of bread-and-circuses. I have to fight against mental boredom to prevent suicidal tendencies, and because of that I try to detect the most unusual and most vivid sorts of knowledge and science on YouTube (and also lots of music!). And while searching unusual knowledge, science, and music, I also detect the very interesting contributions of Vsauce! Thanks Michael Stevens!!! (brain gymnastics!!!).
- DannyCaes Sep 12, 2016