March 27, 2014

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Faster Than a Speeding Asteroid?

image by HyperVision HPV-X Camera of Shimadzu Corporation

A new camera with the capability of recording 10 million frames per second has been developed by the Shimadzu Corporation in Japan. The camera uses a CMOS detector, perhaps not too different from those used in some astronomy cameras except for ultra-high recording speed. This short video shows the impact - speed not given - of a ball against a pane of glass. Does the resulting pattern of radial and concentric fractures remind you of anything familiar? Hopefully, your answer is, Yes - multi-ring impact basins! There are all sorts of reasons why we should be cautious in comparing the consequences of a few centimeter wide projectile hitting a thin glass target at unknown speed with an 100 km wide asteroid smashing into a massive, layered planetary body at cosmic speeds. But it is remarkable how enticing the similarities are. There doesn't seem to be any vertical changes to the glass surface - no Apennine Mountains rim is produced, nor is there an excavation stage leaving behind a deep hole. But the fracturing patterns are similar. Nectaris is a good place to see three or four concentric fractures around a basin center, it also has radial fractures (as well as large secondary crater chains). Too bad a camera like the one in today's LPOD was not operating 3.85 billion years ago - it would be stupendous to have a high speed recording of the Imbrium impact event.

Chuck Wood

Yesterday's LPOD: The Little Things Also Count

Tomorrow's LPOD: Out On a Limb


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