Transient lunar phenomenon

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Map_of_tlp.jpg
This map, based on a survey of 300 TLPs by Barbara Middlehurst and Patrick Moore, shows the approximate distribution of observed events. Red-hued events are in red; the remainder are yellow.

A transient lunar phenomenon (TLP) is a sometimes inexplicable change of color or shape seen on the surface of the moon. Some may be caused by gas escaping from underground cavities after moonquakes. A number of these gaseous events have displayed a distinctive reddish hue, while others have appeared as white clouds or an indistinct haze. The majority appear to be associated with clefted crater floors, the edges of lunar mares, or in locations linked by geologists with volcanic activity.

In 1866, the experienced lifelong lunar observer and mapmaker Johann Friedrich Julius Schmidt made the claim that Linné crater had changed its appearance, from a normal, relatively deep crater to a mere white patch. A controversy arose and the claim remains unproven. No further changes have been observed in the crater; if true this would not be a transient change but a permanent one.

On November 2 1958, the Russian astronomer Nikolai A. Kozyrev observed an apparent outgassing of vapor near the central peak of Alphonsus crater. He took spectrograms that appeared to show the presence of carbon vapor.

Audouin Dollfus of the Observatoire de Paris observed a series of glows on the floor of Langrenus crater using the one-meter telescope on December 30, 1992. These glows changed form with time, and Professor Dollfus expressed the belief that this was likely a gaseous emission. The cracked floor of the crater may have been the source of the gas.

On April 23rd, 1999, amateur observers reported another TLP event in the vicinity of the "Cobra Head", the name for the bulbous start of the Vallis Schröteri adjacent to the Aristarchus crater. The Clementine spacecraft took before and after pictures of this region, and definite color changes were observed.

Other near-side craters where TLP have been reported are Grimaldi, Hercules, Plato, Theaetetus and Thales.

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