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Lunar Transient Phenomena (LTP)

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#1 BillP

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Posted 19 July 2020 - 11:08 AM

Through history, there have been a significant amount of Lunar Transient Phenomena (LTP) reported by visual observers.  Typically of two forms, light flashes (fast with many being red and presumed volcanic or impact related), and anomalous temporary light patches (presumed to be outgassings). 

 

https://iopscience.i...37X/697/1/1/pdf

 

https://iopscience.i...1086/591634/pdf

 

https://iopscience.i.../707/2/1506/pdf

 

https://www.lpi.usra...08/pdf/2430.pdf

 

In 2017 the ESA also started the NELIOTA project which video records these impact flashes as they happen with many being associated during the time of meteor showers here on Earth - https://neliota.astr...okieSupport=1. 

 

Wanted to know if anyone has conducted a personal observing routine to try and spot any of these, and if so how successful and what equipment/process you found most productive.


Edited by BillP, 19 July 2020 - 11:21 AM.

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#2 JAC51

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Posted 19 July 2020 - 03:50 PM

Not a program of any kind but I occasionally indulge in the hobby of counting craters on the floor of Plato in the hope of also seeing something else, Plato being one of the reported areas for LTP.

 

So far I have seen nothing but that does not stop me from living in hope.

 

John



#3 BillP

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Posted 19 July 2020 - 05:59 PM

How long have you been "hoping"?



#4 JAC51

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Posted 19 July 2020 - 06:32 PM

10 years



#5 BillP

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Posted 19 July 2020 - 06:33 PM

That does not give me much hope lol.gif


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#6 JAC51

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Posted 20 July 2020 - 03:27 AM

I am not a very dedicated observer so my sporadic observations are far from the last word on this, I just live in hope. I first came across LTP in articles by Patrick Moore and have been curious about them on and off since.

 

One thing I would have thought though would be that with the increase in amateur telescopes over the past 60 years, and the moon being an obvious target, has there been an increase in observations of LTP's just due to more sampling being made.

 

For that matter have any members of cloudy nights observers anything strange on the moon such as a LTP?

 

With the rise of modern video astronomy would it be possible for two or more observers to video for example the floor of Plato at the same time. This way you could avoid local seeing problems, small cloud passing over head? noise in the camera? fly on lens/mirror? by using one observation to confirm the other.


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#7 Kutno

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Posted 20 July 2020 - 10:40 AM

Through history, there have been a significant amount of Lunar Transient Phenomena (LTP) reported by visual observers.  Typically of two forms, light flashes (fast with many being red and presumed volcanic or impact related), and anomalous temporary light patches (presumed to be outgassings). 

 

...

 

Wanted to know if anyone has conducted a personal observing routine to try and spot any of these, and if so how successful and what equipment/process you found most productive.

 

During my early years in this hobby, the decade of the nineties, I very much sought out LTPs in the Aristarchus region, on a regular basis.  Using a 10.1" Coulter Odyssey Compact, and such eyepieces as a 7mm Nagler and a 7.4mm Tele Vue Plossl matched with 2x and 2.5x Tele Vue Barlows, and a 4mm Radian, I did see hazy brightenings that had no color, on about three occasions.  These incidents occurred in and around the top of the wall of the crater, itself.  They did not move.  A couple eventually dissipated in about a half hour to an hour.  I had to eventually stop looking at the third one because a wall of clouds decided to block my view. 

 

Did I actually see bona fide LTPs?  I don't really know; but after looking at the Moon for about three decades now, I would lean towards saying yes.     


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#8 BillP

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Posted 20 July 2020 - 12:52 PM

During my early years in this hobby, the decade of the nineties, I very much sought out LTPs in the Aristarchus region, on a regular basis.  ... I did see hazy brightenings that had no color, on about three occasions.  These incidents occurred in and around the top of the wall of the crater, itself.  They did not move.  A couple eventually dissipated in about a half hour to an hour.      

 

Outstanding waytogo.gifwaytogo.gif
 


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#9 beggarly

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Posted 22 July 2020 - 04:16 AM

Recent topic on LPOD - TLP RIP: https://www2.lpod.or...i/July_19,_2020



#10 BillP

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Posted 23 July 2020 - 06:44 AM

Recent topic on LPOD - TLP RIP: https://www2.lpod.or...i/July_19,_2020

Do you even know who put together that silly graphic?



#11 beggarly

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Posted 23 July 2020 - 09:13 AM

Do you even know who put together that silly graphic?

Charles A. Wood, author of 'The Modern Moon'. https://www.goodread...the-modern-moon

He started LPOD https://www2.lpod.org/wiki/LPOD:About

Writes articles for Sky & Telescope.


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#12 BillP

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Posted 23 July 2020 - 10:59 AM

Ahh.  OK.  So not an active lunar researcher.  His post did seem like he missed the boat on LTPs lol.gif  None of it is a mystery really.  Scientists actively plot the bright flashes and most associate with meteor impacts.  Provides good data related to activity of the common meteor showers.   Also gives important insight into issues if any permanent Moon base is established and one of those hits could be a show stopper.

 

The white haze LTPs are perhaps more interesting since they have been associated with possible trapped volatiles beneath the regolith and giving insights to possible future mining.

 

Contrary to his one-sided opinion, LTPs, in the form of ongoing impacts and out-gassings from the regolith, probably need to be surveyed in greater details as future Moon missions and bases now seem more likely than not by multiple countries.  LTPs are no longer an amateur observation endeavor, although still fun to try to detect, and really needs more attention so we can better understand and exploit our Moon.  If anything, probably one or two orbiting satellites might be in order to better catalog the occurrences more accurately.  Potential Moon bases, if above ground, need to be in the safest locations possible from impacts, and the more active outgassing areas also need to be identified and studied so the volatiles can potentially be mined and exploited.

 

Anyway, all important stuff.  Realize that we are going back so we need to know more, not less.  NASA has announced that it has signed contracts to deliver payloads to three different Lunar landing sites in 2020 and 2021:

  • 4 payloads to Mare Imbrium by September 2020
  • 14 payloads to Lacus Mortis by July 2021
  • 5 payloads to Oceanus Procellarum by July 2021

And the proposed Artemis lunar exploration program is based on a two-phase approach: the first being focused on speed – returning astronauts to the Moon by 2024 – while the second will establish a sustained human presence on and around the Moon by 2028.


Edited by BillP, 23 July 2020 - 11:38 AM.

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#13 Tom Barnacle

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Posted 23 July 2020 - 01:36 PM

I think it would be unwise to discount many of the historic TLP reports made by competent and experienced observers in the past, and dismissing the phenomenon as being effectively observer error will discourage research into what may be a real and on-going phenomenon. Clearly there are very many reports that can be attributed to the effects of seeing, libration, atmospheric distortion, observer experience and so on, but after these factors are taken into consideration, there remains a residue of observations that appear to be quite convincing. Of course many of these reports may relate to a one off event on the lunar surface which may never be repeated, and so building up a body of evidence regarding possible causes is difficult. A good example of a series of TLP observations relating to one site can be found in 'The strange behaviour of Torricelli B (http://adsabs.harvar...JBAA..110..117C) by M.C Cook - which describes simultaneous multi observer accounts of quite unusual visual effects. The fact that simultaneous observations took place adds to the validity of each observers report. Luckily we now have access to superb high resolution imagery of the lunar surface which allows us to examine some of these sites to see if there is any indication of what may be evidence of surface change or processes that could give rise to the described anomalies. The correspondence between shallow moon-quakes, lobate scarps and boulder falls for example hint that mass wastage events could be occurring sporadically despite the moon being largely a dormant geological body, and indeed a number of historic TLP sites do show evidence of these phenomena, this of course is speculation, but a comprehensive survey of these old sites may reveal a consistent pattern of surface modification which may be significant. The same imagery can also account for some of the anomalous appearances reported by revealing details of the surface morphology or albedo/mineralogy that may explain perceived changes without the need to appeal to extant geological process.

 

So monitoring the moon for geological change is a valid activity, I do it and I am not ashamed!


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#14 BillP

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Posted 23 July 2020 - 04:32 PM

So monitoring the moon for geological change is a valid activity, I do it and I am not ashamed!

Bravo waytogo.gif

 

I think Mr Wood's problem is probably personal, he probably has projects he rather see get the time and attention rather than LTP and he's just sore about that.  I don't find even one of his bullets accurate.  shrug.gif  Anyway...back to those intriguing LTPs...



#15 BillP

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Posted 23 July 2020 - 06:12 PM

So monitoring the moon for geological change is a valid activity, I do it ...

Do you use any particular approach or methodology or primary focus area for your monitoring?



#16 Tom Barnacle

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Posted 24 July 2020 - 11:43 AM

After getting over the shock of seeing the moon in a clear sky I tend to look at a limited number of areas where some of the more convincing TLP's have originated.

 

So Torricelli B is one - as noted in my previous post, visual effects have been recorded here by numerous observers and observations one Saros cycle later (http://web.tiscaline.../torricelli.htm) revealed no similar effects, suggesting that the phenomenon was not a result of illumination angle. LRO images reveal that the crater walls are extremely rocky with a high albedo patch to the north and lots of evidence of dry granular flows. It is also in proximity to a number of lobate scarps which are implicated in ongoing tectonism according to recent research. Pitiscus is another crater where a suspected TLP was recorded by an observer in Florida in 1981, and again LRO imagery shows evidence for extensive slope failure on the western flanks of the central peak as well as the presence of a lobate scarp crossing the eastern floor. Ross D and its environs has been subject of many reports (notably by Daniel Harris) and lies within close proximity to a network of lobate scarps, and Sirsallis is another crater which shows evidence for slope failure in the LRO imagery and was subject of a TLP report in 1999 (https://digilander.libero.it/gibbidomine/sirsalis.htm). The veracity of the TLP observations themselves will always be disputed, but where a report corresponds to a location with evidence for geological activity, then I consider it worth monitoring. Of course there is a huge uncertainty in the age of any such geological activity (I am an not a Planetary Scientist and am relying on knowledge gained in a geology degree obtained in the early Jurrasic) and whether a tectonically induced avalanche could generate a sufficiently large dust cloud to produce the visual effects observed - but it is a start, and narrows down the areas to monitor to a manageable number. I do have a peek at the old favorites such as Plato and Aristarchus, but they tend to be secondary targets. It is worth looking at the LRO images as they can shed light on some reported TLP's and suggest an explanation. The Lunar Transient Phenomena Catalog Extension by Winifred Cameron (2016) records a number of observations of the crater Daniel where the SE wall was reported as indistinct. LRO images and 3D models show that Daniel is a low angle crater with a saddle shaped rim with the low points in the NW and SE - which explains the reduced visibility of this section of the rim. It is possible that other TLP reports could also be the result of topography and not surface activity.

 

I either use a 250mm Newtonian (depending on whether I can be bothered to enter the twilight world that is collimation) or a 140mm Apo, a ZWO planetary camera and a laptop plugged in to a LCD TV so I can examine each area in real time and record any anomalies using Sharpcap or a similar program I am new to all this fancy electronic stuff - so it is all a bit new but fun, which is what a hobby is supposed to be.  As the majority of shallow moon quakes (and therefore any tectonically related effects) appear to concentrate around apogee and perigee a clear sky at these times is great, but I like to observe at any time in lunar cycle as TLP's are shy and elusive creatures and may have nothing to do with quakes, dust and steep slopes.

 

So far I have seen.....................nothing. Which is fine with me.


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#17 BillP

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Posted 27 July 2020 - 06:58 PM

Great post Tom!  Thanks!

 

An interesting little article I just came across -- https://www.space.co...c-activity.html

 

The video embedded is interesting as well.

 

LRO interactive map - https://quickmap.lro...2vIBvAXwF1SizSg


Edited by BillP, 27 July 2020 - 06:59 PM.


#18 SabiaJD

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Posted 04 August 2020 - 09:33 AM

Just found your post today.  The information below contains observations of Lunar transient events in the monthly publication that you may find useful.

 

 Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers

Lunar section

http://www.alpo-astronomy.org/

http://www.alpo-astr...r-Observer/2020

 

TLO is the monthly publication of The Lunar Observer (free download)

 

Included in this publication is this active Lunar Geologic Change Detection Program ( current observed reports).

 

Surprise you did not know Charles Wood, his publications,  and all he has done to promote Lunar observing in the amateur community.


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#19 contrailmaker

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 10:57 PM

Back when I was a dedicated lunar observer I spent quite a bit of time observing the popular spots where TLPs have been reported hoping to catch the transient light patches. No success. For this I used a C8 with a tracking mount and relatively high magnifications above 200x.

 

Now, I’m very fond of observing full disk views of the moon with binoculars or small refractors using 20-35x. In two occasions I have seen the bright light flashes. The first time the moon was about 60% illuminated with the other 40% in earthshine during dusk. Quite a beautiful sight. A tiny bright spot appeared for a fraction of a second on the side illuminated by the earth. The second time I was using a then newly acquired pair of 25x100 binoculars (what an amazing view of the moon they provide), during a lunar eclipse and again observed a tiny bright dot for a fraction of a second and this time noted the approximate location. I wrote a post about the sighting on an ongoing thread about the eclipse here on CN but nobody chimed in to confirm the sighting. About a week later I was watching YouTube videos of the eclipse and there was one that had caught the event. I felt good that at least I had not imagined it.

 

CM 


Edited by contrailmaker, 06 August 2020 - 07:50 AM.


#20 contrailmaker

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Posted 06 August 2020 - 08:05 AM

The LRO web site has a ton of good information and very cool tools. They have been able to document  many changes on the lunar surface over the years. When I lived in Arizona I visited the LRO control center located on the ASU campus, were you can see the satellite, camera control and data gathering teams at work. They also have a great moon exhibit that includes one of the largest lunar rocks I have seen in person. A piece of the “Great Scott” brought back by the Apollo 15 crew.

 

CM


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#21 BillP

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Posted 07 August 2020 - 12:32 PM

Back when I was a dedicated lunar observer I spent quite a bit of time observing the popular spots where TLPs have been reported hoping to catch the transient light patches. No success. For this I used a C8 with a tracking mount and relatively high magnifications above 200x.

 

Now, I’m very fond of observing full disk views of the moon with binoculars or small refractors using 20-35x. In two occasions I have seen the bright light flashes. The first time the moon was about 60% illuminated with the other 40% in earthshine during dusk. Quite a beautiful sight. A tiny bright spot appeared for a fraction of a second on the side illuminated by the earth. The second time I was using a then newly acquired pair of 25x100 binoculars (what an amazing view of the moon they provide), during a lunar eclipse and again observed a tiny bright dot for a fraction of a second and this time noted the approximate location. I wrote a post about the sighting on an ongoing thread about the eclipse here on CN but nobody chimed in to confirm the sighting. About a week later I was watching YouTube videos of the eclipse and there was one that had caught the event. I felt good that at least I had not imagined it.

Very cool!  Do you still have the link to that video?  Would be interesting to see the exact location of the flash.



#22 beggarly

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 12:55 AM

https://www.youtube....ry=lunar impact

 

Was this a JTP? https://www.universe...oemaker-levy-9/



#23 contrailmaker

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 10:26 PM

I wish I had Bill. I made notes of the sighting in my observing log but can not find it after several moves. Need to keep looking as I am also missing some important family documents. It was over 5 years ago so there’s a lot of videos to sift through.

 

CM



#24 goodricke1

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Posted 09 August 2020 - 05:17 AM

The second time I was using a then newly acquired pair of 25x100 binoculars (what an amazing view of the moon they provide), during a lunar eclipse and again observed a tiny bright dot for a fraction of a second and this time noted the approximate location. I wrote a post about the sighting on an ongoing thread about the eclipse here on CN but nobody chimed in to confirm the sighting. About a week later I was watching YouTube videos of the eclipse and there was one that had caught the event. I felt good that at least I had not imagined it.

The first ever recording of a bright flash on the moon during an eclipse was as recently as last year -

 

https://www.space.co...ar-eclipse.html

 

so maybe the video you saw on youtube several years ago was related to something else.



#25 contrailmaker

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Posted 13 August 2020 - 10:16 PM

The first ever recording of a bright flash on the moon during an eclipse was as recently as last year -

 

https://www.space.co...ar-eclipse.html

 

so maybe the video you saw on youtube several years ago was related to something else.

I spent about 20 minutes searching through the you tube videos and as you say, the ones that I found were recent and as I kept going back on the pages they kept repeating. Maybe I saw it someplace else. I’ll keep looking on the astronomy sites. At the time I didn’t think it was a terribly important sighting. Still, it would be nice to find that video.

 

CM




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