October 28, 2012

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image by Peter Rosén, Stockholm, Sweden

Few planets are as weird as Treelandia, a cigar-shaped world with two moons. Treelandia has a central spine, presumably made of iron that sank toward the middle of the world during tubular differentiation due to rapid rotation. In fact, the spin must have been exceedingly fast to generate the extreme shape. The odd thing is that the two moons are in a polar orbit rather than an equatorial one around the long axis. The only way that could happen is if they were captured bodies, or accepting the logic of Occam's Razor, if one object approached Treelandia at a very high inclination, and was sheared into a stream of pieces by a close approach which also orthogonally rotated the orbital plane. Re-accretion of the debris happened on opposite sides of the planet resulting in two moons. The tail end of accretion may be occuring now for apparently a large impact has just occurred on the left moon as indicated by the ejecta plume on one side and its antipodal dust cloud. The first shock wave has just reached the left side of Treelandia, accounting for the blurred motion seen there.

Chuck Wood

Technical Details
27 Oct 2012 at 15h27 UT. Canon Eos5D MkII with a 70-200/2.8 zoom at 70mm. Part of a panorama of 2 pictures.

Yesterday's LPOD: Positive Outcomes From Negative Views

Tomorrow's LPOD: Another #1


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