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What the Heck Is This?

what the heck image
(Image credit: Journal of Geophysical Research (via NASA) )

This image should be somewhat familiar to most of you. But the color might throw you off.

See if you can guess what it is before reading on.

Two hints if you're struggling: This thing will be the subject of intense global scrutiny tonight. And there is no cheese involved.

The image is a map of the moon, colorized to show slopes and craters on the surface. The "laser map" was released last week.

A cool moon fact: Because the moon has no atmosphere, its surface is a record of impact craters going back billions of years — they simple don't erode, so you can see newer craters inside older ones. If Earth had no air, it might look a lot like the moon.

Now, on to today's point:

A total lunar eclipse will occur tonight (June 15). It will be visible from the eastern half of Africa, the Middle East, central Asia and western Australia. It will not be visible from North America. Europe will see only parts of the show.

Got a strange or interesting photo related to science, nature or technology? What the Heck, send it to me, and maybe I'll use it. Or follow me on Twitter, or Facebook.

The colors in this image reveal information about the slope and roughness of the moon's surface. (Image credit: Journal of Geophysical Research (via NASA))