Astronomy: Glazing the Moon

While photographing the moon's surface with a special stereo camera, Astronaut Neil Armstrong was fascinated by several glassy patches that glittered like tiny bright mirrors. "I noticed them in six or eight places," Armstrong explained, "always in the same kind of place—at the bottom of a crater." Last week Cornell Astronomer Thomas Gold offered a dramatic explanation. The moon, he says, may have been scorched by a huge flare-up of heat and light within the solar system.

Since the patches have survived on the lunar surface despite the moon's constant bombardment by micrometeorites and solar particles, Gold calculates that the...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!