Observation and interpretation of meteoroid impact flashes on the moon

Luis R. Bellot Rubio, Jose L. Ortiz, Pedro V. Sada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The first unambiguous detection of meteoroids impacting the night side of the Moon was obtained during the 1999 Leonid storm. Up to eight optical flashes were recorded with CCD video cameras attached to small telescopes on November 18, 1999. Six impacts were videotaped by at least two independent observers at the same times and lunar locations, which is perhaps the strongest evidence for their collisional nature. The flashes were clearly above the noise and lasted for less than 0.02 s. Although previous observational efforts did not succeed in detecting impact flashes, additional candidates have been reported in the literature. The evidence accumulated so far implies that small telescopes equipped with high speed cameras can be used as a new tool for studying meteoroid streams, sporadic meteoroids, and hypervelocity collisions. In this review we discuss the various intervening parameters for detectability of flashes on the night side of the Moon (geometrical effects, contamination by scattered light from the day side, and properties of the meteoroids such as speed and flux of particles). Particular emphasis is placed on the analysis of the observations in order to derive relevant physical parameters such as luminous efficiencies, impactor masses, and crater sizes. Some of these parameters are of interest for constraining theoretical impact models. From a simple analysis, it is possible to derive the mass distribution of the impactors in the kg range. A more elaborate analysis of the data permits an estimate of the fraction of kinetic energy converted to radiation (luminous efficiency) if the meteoroid flux on the Moon is known. Applied to the 1999 lunar Leonids, these methods yield a mass index of 1.6 ± 0.1 and luminous efficiencies of 2 × 10-3with an uncertainty of about one order of magnitude. Predictions of visibility of the major annual meteor showers are given for the next few years. These include the forthcoming 2001 Leonid return, for which we estimate detection rates in the visible.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)575-598
Number of pages24
JournalEarth, Moon and Planets
Volume82-83
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1998

Fingerprint

meteoroids
natural satellites
Moon
flash
moon
impactors
night
sporadic meteoroids
meteor
visibility
kinetic energy
crater
telescopes
hypervelocity
collision
high speed cameras
estimates
showers
mass distribution
craters

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

Bellot Rubio, Luis R. ; Ortiz, Jose L. ; Sada, Pedro V. / Observation and interpretation of meteoroid impact flashes on the moon. In: Earth, Moon and Planets. 1998 ; Vol. 82-83. pp. 575-598.
@article{b9e61f8e00b44953b984c10be5964888,
title = "Observation and interpretation of meteoroid impact flashes on the moon",
abstract = "The first unambiguous detection of meteoroids impacting the night side of the Moon was obtained during the 1999 Leonid storm. Up to eight optical flashes were recorded with CCD video cameras attached to small telescopes on November 18, 1999. Six impacts were videotaped by at least two independent observers at the same times and lunar locations, which is perhaps the strongest evidence for their collisional nature. The flashes were clearly above the noise and lasted for less than 0.02 s. Although previous observational efforts did not succeed in detecting impact flashes, additional candidates have been reported in the literature. The evidence accumulated so far implies that small telescopes equipped with high speed cameras can be used as a new tool for studying meteoroid streams, sporadic meteoroids, and hypervelocity collisions. In this review we discuss the various intervening parameters for detectability of flashes on the night side of the Moon (geometrical effects, contamination by scattered light from the day side, and properties of the meteoroids such as speed and flux of particles). Particular emphasis is placed on the analysis of the observations in order to derive relevant physical parameters such as luminous efficiencies, impactor masses, and crater sizes. Some of these parameters are of interest for constraining theoretical impact models. From a simple analysis, it is possible to derive the mass distribution of the impactors in the kg range. A more elaborate analysis of the data permits an estimate of the fraction of kinetic energy converted to radiation (luminous efficiency) if the meteoroid flux on the Moon is known. Applied to the 1999 lunar Leonids, these methods yield a mass index of 1.6 ± 0.1 and luminous efficiencies of 2 × 10-3with an uncertainty of about one order of magnitude. Predictions of visibility of the major annual meteor showers are given for the next few years. These include the forthcoming 2001 Leonid return, for which we estimate detection rates in the visible.",
author = "{Bellot Rubio}, {Luis R.} and Ortiz, {Jose L.} and Sada, {Pedro V.}",
year = "1998",
month = "12",
day = "1",
language = "English",
volume = "82-83",
pages = "575--598",
journal = "Earth, Moon and Planets",
issn = "0167-9295",
publisher = "Springer Netherlands",

}

Observation and interpretation of meteoroid impact flashes on the moon. / Bellot Rubio, Luis R.; Ortiz, Jose L.; Sada, Pedro V.

In: Earth, Moon and Planets, Vol. 82-83, 01.12.1998, p. 575-598.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Observation and interpretation of meteoroid impact flashes on the moon

AU - Bellot Rubio, Luis R.

AU - Ortiz, Jose L.

AU - Sada, Pedro V.

PY - 1998/12/1

Y1 - 1998/12/1

N2 - The first unambiguous detection of meteoroids impacting the night side of the Moon was obtained during the 1999 Leonid storm. Up to eight optical flashes were recorded with CCD video cameras attached to small telescopes on November 18, 1999. Six impacts were videotaped by at least two independent observers at the same times and lunar locations, which is perhaps the strongest evidence for their collisional nature. The flashes were clearly above the noise and lasted for less than 0.02 s. Although previous observational efforts did not succeed in detecting impact flashes, additional candidates have been reported in the literature. The evidence accumulated so far implies that small telescopes equipped with high speed cameras can be used as a new tool for studying meteoroid streams, sporadic meteoroids, and hypervelocity collisions. In this review we discuss the various intervening parameters for detectability of flashes on the night side of the Moon (geometrical effects, contamination by scattered light from the day side, and properties of the meteoroids such as speed and flux of particles). Particular emphasis is placed on the analysis of the observations in order to derive relevant physical parameters such as luminous efficiencies, impactor masses, and crater sizes. Some of these parameters are of interest for constraining theoretical impact models. From a simple analysis, it is possible to derive the mass distribution of the impactors in the kg range. A more elaborate analysis of the data permits an estimate of the fraction of kinetic energy converted to radiation (luminous efficiency) if the meteoroid flux on the Moon is known. Applied to the 1999 lunar Leonids, these methods yield a mass index of 1.6 ± 0.1 and luminous efficiencies of 2 × 10-3with an uncertainty of about one order of magnitude. Predictions of visibility of the major annual meteor showers are given for the next few years. These include the forthcoming 2001 Leonid return, for which we estimate detection rates in the visible.

AB - The first unambiguous detection of meteoroids impacting the night side of the Moon was obtained during the 1999 Leonid storm. Up to eight optical flashes were recorded with CCD video cameras attached to small telescopes on November 18, 1999. Six impacts were videotaped by at least two independent observers at the same times and lunar locations, which is perhaps the strongest evidence for their collisional nature. The flashes were clearly above the noise and lasted for less than 0.02 s. Although previous observational efforts did not succeed in detecting impact flashes, additional candidates have been reported in the literature. The evidence accumulated so far implies that small telescopes equipped with high speed cameras can be used as a new tool for studying meteoroid streams, sporadic meteoroids, and hypervelocity collisions. In this review we discuss the various intervening parameters for detectability of flashes on the night side of the Moon (geometrical effects, contamination by scattered light from the day side, and properties of the meteoroids such as speed and flux of particles). Particular emphasis is placed on the analysis of the observations in order to derive relevant physical parameters such as luminous efficiencies, impactor masses, and crater sizes. Some of these parameters are of interest for constraining theoretical impact models. From a simple analysis, it is possible to derive the mass distribution of the impactors in the kg range. A more elaborate analysis of the data permits an estimate of the fraction of kinetic energy converted to radiation (luminous efficiency) if the meteoroid flux on the Moon is known. Applied to the 1999 lunar Leonids, these methods yield a mass index of 1.6 ± 0.1 and luminous efficiencies of 2 × 10-3with an uncertainty of about one order of magnitude. Predictions of visibility of the major annual meteor showers are given for the next few years. These include the forthcoming 2001 Leonid return, for which we estimate detection rates in the visible.

M3 - Article

VL - 82-83

SP - 575

EP - 598

JO - Earth, Moon and Planets

JF - Earth, Moon and Planets

SN - 0167-9295

ER -