One of our Surfer 15 users Alain Paillou has been kind enough to share his work with us - he has been using Surfer's new 3D viewer to analyze the soils of the Moon. Please read on!
My name is Alain Paillou, I'm a hydrogeologist and I work for the French Environment Minister. I study surface and groundwater quality in the Bourgogne Franche-Comté region. As I have to deal with a huge amount of environmental data, I need very powerful tools to be able to understand and explain how human activity can modify water quality. One of my favourite tools is Golden Software's Surfer program, which allows me to create maps of water quality in my region.
I'm also an amateur astronomer and one of my favourite subjects is the Moon. Modern astronomy equipment is quite amazing, allowing us to study the Moon's geology without relying on satellite imagery. New amateur telescopes can easily show you spectacular views of the planets and deep sky objects. I used a Celestron C9.25 telescope and a ZWO ASI178MC camera to capture the true colours of the Moon's soils.
When you look at the Moon, you will mostly see grey colours. If you look very closely, you will be able to see very light colours, mostly blue and orange in the Seas (the Lunar Maria - large basaltic plains originally mistaken for oceans by early astronomers). Yes, the Moon has colours! Using modern planetary cameras, it is possible to create very clear photos of the Moon's surface, and with those images and appropriate treatment, you can show true colour of the soils.
These colours come mainly from metallic oxides in small glass structures in the soils (blue indicates the presence of titanium, while red means iron is present). We can also see green colours that could be silicates, and it is possible to see dark brown areas that are probably pyroclastic deposits which may contain a significant quantity of water. To get a more beautiful picture, we can superimpose a detailed monochrome photograph of the Moon with a colour image from the telescopic camera. With this kind of composite picture, you can have a very realistic picture of a detailed Moon that also reveals information of the soil's composition.
The new 3D View functionality I use in Surfer 15 allows me to create a fly-over video using the LRO Moon DEM with my superimposed photography. This is really cool! The video below shows a fly-over recorded at Theophilus Crater, a prominent Lunar impact crater about 97km in diameter.
Alain's YouTube channel has more fly-overs, videos and astronomical photography. Check it out here!