By Mario Carr
Our nearest celestial neighbour, the Moon, is shrinking as its interior cools.
According to a recent analysis of moonquakes detected by the Apollo astronauts more than 50 years ago, the Moon is becoming smaller by about 50 meters over the last several hundred million years. As it shrinks, its surface wrinkles like the skin of a grape when it becomes a raisin.
However, the Moon’s surface is brittle forming thrust faults where one section is pushed up against another causing moonquakes. The Moon isn’t the only object in our solar system shrinking. The planet Mercury has significantly larger thrust faults indicating it’s shrinking more than the Moon.
Here are June stargazing events, which are listed in the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers calendar.
June 10 – Jupiter is at opposition and at its closest point to the Earth. It can be seen all night rising in the east at sunset and setting in the west at sunrise.
June 14 – Hamilton Amateur Astronomers meeting 7:30-9:30 p.m, Spectator Building, 44 Frid Street, Hamilton. Free admission, door prizes and everybody welcome. An optional food bank donation of non-perishable goods will be collected and appreciated. Professor Brian McNamara from the University of Waterloo will discuss 1919-2019: A Century of Black Holes.
June 16 – The Moon is close to Jupiter in the early evening sky.
June 18 – Mercury and Mars meet low in the evening sky. The Moon is also close to Saturn later in the evening.
June 21 – Summer official begins at 11:54 a.m. during the Solstice. It’s also the longest day of the year.
For more information, see the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers website at www.amateurastronomy.org or call (905) 627-4323. The club offers a basic astronomy course for members.
Mario Carr is the club’s director of publicity and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @MarioCCarr