Explanation: Why is there a large boulder near the center of Tycho’s peak? Tycho crater on the Moon is one of the easiest features to see, visible even to the unaided eye (inset, lower right). But at the center of Tycho (inset, upper left) is a something unusual – a 120-meter boulder. This boulder was imaged at very high resolution at sunrise, over the past decade, by the Moon-circling Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). The leading origin hypothesis is that that the boulder was thrown during the tremendous collision that formed Tycho crater about 110 million years ago, and by chance came back down right near the center of the newly-formed central mountain. Over the next billion years meteor impacts and moonquakes should slowly degrade Tycho’s center, likely causing the central boulder to tumble 2000 meters down to the crater floor and disintegrate.
It can be casual to forget the magnificence of our planet and get lost in our tight-knit everyday lives. In the advent of a lunar eclipse (January 31, 2018) it is worth knowing that when it comes to eclipses, Earth holds a pristine status in our solar system.
To understand why, we need to shift our perspective a little bit and ask -”How would it be like if you were on Io (one of the moons of Jupiter)?”
The most startling thing about this experience would be that the Jupiter would appear 36 times larger than the full moon (from earth). That’s HUGE!
Also since the moons of Jupiter lies in the same plane, you would be witnessing an eclipse every 42 hours …
Moons – Io, Ganymede, and Callisto in solar eclipse
In addition, since Jupiter has many moons (A large family of them), you might be able to catch some your fellow moons in eclipse with the sun. Their shadows though, appearing like tiny dots on the gas giant.
Saturn and its eclipse
If we make a slight detour and end up in Saturn, this is what it looks like when Saturn occults the Sun. Although not technically an eclipse, this image was captured by Cassini with Sun behind the planet, setting the rings and its atmosphere aglow.
Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute.
When people are not overwhelmed by the beauty of its rings, they notice the shadows cast by its many moons. Here is the solar eclipse of Saturn’s moon Titan:
Eclipse on our friendly neighbor – Mars
Larger of Mars’s two moons, Phobos passing in front of the sun – Solar eclipse.
Let’s forget about all those planets that are far away, if one were make a visit to Mars which is ~12 light minutes away, one would witness only partial eclipses because the moons of Mars are too small to block the entire sun.
Eclipses on Earth
One Earth, One moon, A spectacular eclipse
Eclipses on earth, on the other hand, are too surreal to be true. Our planet not only supports life but also is placed in a prime location that would cause a total solar eclipse.
And as though the entire universe wanted to amuse us even more, the moon’s orbital plane is slightly misaligned from the Earth’s orbital plane around the sun which makes an occurrence of an eclipse predictable but yet not long enough; leaving us in a state of desperation wanting for more.