If you ever admired the bright full moon, you could notice dark spots on the surface of her disk. These are the famous seas. But what are these formations and was there water in them?
Mysterious Earth Satellite
The moon is located at a distance of 384 467 km from Earth and shines brightly in the night sky. Its surface can be seen without the use of magnifying devices, and the base binocular shows many interesting details.
The ancient scientists also observed the earth satellite and could see dark spots, to which 40% of the lunar surface were assigned. We are accustomed to correlate everything with terrestrial characteristics, therefore, we considered that the bright territories are the continental part, and the dark areas - seas.
Even Galileo Galilei suspected that these depressions could be filled with water. But for the first time the lunar seas appeared on the map of the Moon in 1652. It was composed by an Italian astronomer Giovanni Riccioli and the physicist Francesco Grimaldi. But further studies with improved instruments made it clear that there was no water in these “seas”, but the name itself was fixed.
What are we dealing with?
The lunar seas are considered to be the largest visual details when viewing an earth satellite. We are talking about lowlands. Characterized by a flat bottom and flooded with lava in the solid state. This lava appears darker in color than the rest of the surface area.
Basalt is believed to be 3-4.5 billion years old. At size, the seas are drawn out 200-1100 km across and prefer a rounded shape. On closer examination, it can be seen that in some places small mountain elevations look out from under the basalt layer. On the mainland much more crater formations.
How did it appear?
Interestingly, on the dark side of the moon the number of seas is much more modest, moreover, they are inferior in size. Scientists believe that these formations arose because of a series of collisions. Initially, these were craters that gradually filled with lava, creating a mass concentrated on the site (mascons).
But the continents are inferior to lava accumulations by gravity, therefore symmetry could occur in the distribution of mass . The role of the earthly force of gravity, which keeps the hemisphere covered by the seas, has played its role in our survey. But on the dark side you can find large pools.
The largest sea on the moon
Sea of Tranquility Close-up
The largest representative of lunar sea formations is considered Ocean Storms. The name got from Giovanni Riccioli. The length is drawn to 2500 km and is characterized by an irregular shape. You can find it on the west side of the lunar “face”.
Interestingly, in 1969 the module of the mission Apollo 12 landed on the territory of this sea, where Alan Bean and Charles Conrad came to the rescue. It was also possible to obtain several samples of the Ocean of Storms, which turned out to be much lighter in color than in the Sea of Tranquility.
On the moon you can find many seas, as well as bays, lakes and even swamps. Many are intrigued by their names, like the Lake of Happiness or the Swamp of Rot. Let's hope that one day we will personally consider these formations, but for now we will observe from afar.