PVAMU Department of Physics
So far, I have received reports of 5 Lunar Perseid impact candidates, all made on 9 August 2008UT. As the Perseid shower winds down, I want to bring to your attention some impact candidates that were recorded last week. We saw some moon-based activity early on, with two bright candidates and two secondary candidates being recorded on August 9UT. Robert Spellman recorded a bright impact at 4:06:22UT, which can be seen at this site: http://www.angelfire.com/space2/robertspellman/observationarchive.html. George Varros recorded a bright impact at 2:27:04UT, whose image appears here: http://www.lunarimpacts.com/ 022704_candidate .jpg. He also reports two additional (though not definite, yet) candidates at 1:59:46 and 2:18:18. If anyone was observing the moon during these times, please check your recordings for these impacts. You can look at the above images to find out where they occurred.
Four impact candidates from the Quadrantid stream have been published online by the
NASA/MSFC group, including one event lasting 10 video frames. This long event
took place at 11:42:39UT, 4 January 2008, so observers are asked to check tapes
for this event. Three fainter events, each lasting 1 to 2 frames, but observed
through 2 or 3 telescopes simultaneously, also have been reported. I also have
a report of up to 10 Geminid impact candidates,
several confirmed already, observed in
NASA-MSFC effort now has 113 impact candidates (as of August 8, 2008). The dates, times, selenographic coordinates, and source (sporadic or shower) are included in the table on their home page (link below). Observers are encouraged to carefully check their videotapes near these dates/times for corroborating impact signatures. Please visit http://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/news/lunar/index.html for information on these impact candidates. The number of impacts recorded by this group serves as a reminder that these events are happening on a regular basis and is a motivator for individuals to keep up the observations in support of this and lunar meteor work in general. The locations of the candidates on the lunar surface can be viewed on the above link.
I plan to submit the manuscript to Springer by October 5 (I am waiting on the last of the permission request responses and need more time to prepare the final materials for submission). This will be part of a series of Practical Astronomy books (there is already a book out entitled “The Moon and How to Observe It”. If Dr. Schmude’s book, “Remote Planets and How to Observe Them”, published on July 31, 2008, is any indication as to the timeline of publication, and if all goes according to plan, then the book should be published by the early part of the summer of 2009. I will keep you informed as the project progresses.
Observers are also requested to monitor the moon for up to 10 nights per month in support of the NASA-MSFC effort to regularly patrol the moon, from a waxing crescent of 10% illumination to the first quarter (55% illuminated) phase and again from last quarter to near new moon. The Moon will next be well placed in the evening sky from 12 December to 18 December, in time for the Geminid meteor shower. Systematic, careful observations will help to shore up the validity of any impact candidates the NASA team captures (Currently they have 74 impact candidates, two of which were independent confirmations by outside individuals). Current estimates predict up to 260 impacts per month of objects of 1 kg or greater on the lunar surface, many of which can be captured with ground-based equipment. Thus, it is important to observe the moon as much as possible in order to refine these estimates, which will become even more useful when NASA sends astronauts back to the moon no later than 2020. The LMIS is coordinating monthly campaigns for the remainder of 2007 on into 2008. The dates of each campaign, both routine and related to annual meteor showers, are now posted here. Dates for 2008 will be posted soon.
Definitions to Describe Quality of Lunar Meteor Observations
In order to better qualify the probability of an observation being genuinely impact in nature, we have adopted a definitive classification scheme. The descriptors are given below
With these criteria in place, we can better group observations in terms of quality and estimate the likelihood of the observation being that of an actual impact event. It is very possible that a candidate could be elevated to the status of "confirmed" with the corroborative observation of a second independent observer, as stated in the qualifications above.
Included are the plots made for meteor showers with ZHR's greater than 10 that occur when the Moon is favorably placed for the observation of impact flashes from Earth. In addition to the plots for 2005 and 2006, plots for 1999 to 2004 are also included for archival purposes. Click on the following link for impact plots showing when the Moon will be favorably placed to observe possible lunar meteor impacts on its surface from annual meteor showers. Only when at least some of the dark side of the Moon is presented to the Earth, and the terrestrial ZHR of the shower exceeds 15, is the plot for that particular shower (terrestrial) maximum provided. Many thanks to Peter Gural of Science Applications International Corporation for providing these impact plots. Also note that the LunarScan program is capable of producing lunar impact plots for any shower and any lunar phase; interested parties are encouraged to refer to the documentation that goes with the program for more information.
Lunar Impact Plots--Archives
Lunar Impact Plots--Current Observable Events
General Information and Historical Observations
Lunar Leonids 2001
Lunar Leonids 2000
Lunar Leonids 1999
Leonid flashers...on the Moon (before the Storm)
Observing Leonids on the Moon (before the Storm)
A Leonid on the Moon? (First News of Possible Impact Sightings)
ALPO meteor links