Lunar Meteoritic Impact Search
View A&M University
519, MS 2230
View, Texas 77446
This program is designed to standardize and
coordinate amateur observations of meteoroid impacts on the Moon. This field
has exciting possibilities but only if the observations are done in a uniform
manner and pooled to look for confirmations of positive observations. Anyone
interested in participating should contact the Coordinator above for further
information. The Coordinator maintains an "Impact"
e-mailing list of regular participants, e-mail him if you would like
to be added to the list. Click here to read the full mission statement.
What's New (04/09/2021)?
MIRROR SITE: https://www.pvamu.edu/pvso/cosmic-corner/lunar-meteor-watch/
Briefings and Upcoming Opportunities
News and Developments, Archives (2011-2020)
Jovian Meteors and
Links to Lunar Impact
Quarterly Briefings and Upcoming
For the ongoing
monthly routine observations, the defined start is set at three days after New
Moon until two days after First Quarter for the first half. The second half
resumes two days before Last Quarter and continues until three days before New
Moon. The actual duration of each observing interval will vary due to ecliptic
angle, lunar elongation, and observer latitude. I am posting these plans on a
quarterly basis, which provides, at a glance, the observing schedule along with
any meteor showers active during the observing windows. In general the
observations fall into three groups: evening, from three days after New Moon
(NM) to two days after First Quarter (FQ); morning, from two days prior to Last
Quarter (LQ) to three days prior to New Moon (NM); and significant shower, when
the moon is favorably placed (usually during these two intervals) during annual
showers (whose names will appear in bold type) with ground-based ZHR’s of 20 or
We are starting
the morning phase of the current monthly campaign as of this update (Last
Quarter, April 4).
· Interval: 2 – 9 April (LQ = 4 April;
NM = 12 April), morning. Only the sporadic background and antihelion source
contribute meteoroids at this time.
· Interval: 15 – 22 April (NM = 12 April; FQ
= 20 April), evening. The pi-Puppids (ZHR = var), the Lyrids (peak 22 April,
ZHR = 18) and the Antihelion Source are active at this time.
· Interval: 30 April – 8 May (LQ = 3 May; NM
= 11 May), morning. The eta Aquariids (peak 5 May, ZHR = 50), the eta Lyrids (ZHR = 3) and the Antihelion
source are active at this time.
· Interval: 14
– 21 May (NM = 11 May; FQ = 19 May),
evening. Only the Antihelion source and stray sporadic meteors are active at
· Interval: 31 May – 7 June (LQ = 2 June; NM = 10 June), morning. Only the Antihelion
source and stray sporadic meteors are active at this time.
· Interval: 13 – 20 June (NM = 10 June; FQ
= 18 June), evening. Only the sporadic background and antihelion source
contribute meteoroids at this time.
· Interval: 29 June – 7 July (LQ = 1 July; NM
= 10 July), morning. Only the sporadic background and antihelion source
contribute meteoroids at this time.
always, check back often for any updates on activity related to these two major
showers as well as any other developments. The full observing plan for lunar
meteors for 2021 can be obtained here.
The Latest Lunar Meteor Candidate
As of this writing, I have not received any recent reports of lunar
meteor flash activity. Keep checking this section for the latest in such
reports and observations, which will be posted as soon as possible after they
News and Developments Archive, 2011-2020
Impact Candidate Reports in
I received a report from Shavarsh Khachatryan, from Nor Kharberd,
Armenia (Latitude: 40° 5' 48.43"; Longitude: 44° 28' 33.08"). He
reports the transit of a dark object across the Moon's disk, taking 3 seconds
to cross (possibly a satellite or other object) at 18:55 UT on October 28,
2020. Then at 19:05 UT (this was the time recorded in the report), Shavarsh witnessed
visually "a distinct but minuscule (very small) flash...around crater
Carlini in Mare Imbrium. The phenomenon was exceptionally brief less than a
second in any case. The color of the flash was yellow white more towards
yellow." Shavarsh used an Omegon ED triplet, focal length 952mm,
aperture 127 mm (5 inch), at 106 x magnification. The eyepiece was a 9 mm with
an FOV of 0.52 degrees. The Moon was a very fat Gibbous phase so I anticipate
few would be observing for lunar meteor impacts. Nonetheless, if anyone in
Europe or Africa was observing the Moon at this time, check your observations
for any of the phenonema just discussed.
Impact Candidate Reports,
I've received reports of three lunar Perseid candidates by Lawrence
Garrett. Each of the three candidates were recorded on 5 August 2019. He
observed these with a Celestron 8-inch, focal reduced to F/6.3, under clear
skies with good seeing. His observing location was at Latitude 44 39.6619
degrees N, Longitude 72 59.3715 degrees West, elevation 126.5 m. Images of
these three impacts at their peak can be found on the mirror to this site.
August 2019, 00:56:04.4021 UT, in crater South W 46.6 N 55.5, appears on 3 frames.
August 2019, 01:18:11:1010 UT C_left , Near Mons La Hire W24 N26.0, possible
double impact, visible in 5 frames.
August 2019, 01:18:11:0676 UT C_right, Near Archimedes W1.5 N30, possible double
impact, visible in 4 frames.
I have earlier received two reports of possible impacts from two
individual sites. The information about each is provided below. Interestingly,
they took place almost exactly one month apart from each other. Confirming
observations are sought.
Event: 8 June 2019, 22:00:37 by ROCG ELT group in Brazil (Carlos Henrrique
Barreto & Tiago Augusto Torres Moreira). Event is seen in two frames near
the WNW (Selenographic coordinates “eyeballed” to approximately 72.0W, 38.5N)
Event: 8 July 2019, 1:35 UT by Roger A. Jiménez A. in Venezuela. He wrote:
“[4.0] Magnitude calibrated based on the brightness of a fourth magnitude star
which was 2.5 degrees from the Moon, in the direction of its illuminated side.
For this estimation, the same equipment (B10x50) was used, moments after the event.”
The event, lasting less than 0.1 second, was observed in the region of
Super Wolf Blood Moon Total
Lunar Eclipse Meteor Impact (January 2019)
There was a meteoroid
impact that occurred just as totality was getting underway during the recent
total lunar eclipse of January 21,
2019. This occurred at 4:41:43 UT and was first seen on live streams from
several locations such as Griffith Observatory. The website “HDR
astrophotography by Nicolas Lefaudeux has a nice image of the impact along with
a link of the best estimate of location of the resultant crater. Access this at
An eyewitness to
the event as it happened, Kenneth Schroeder from Washington State, submitted
this lunar meteoroid impact visually, in real time, using a pair of hand held
Canon 10x42 image stabilized binoculars. I was observing from Auburn, WA, USA
from a covered balcony. Partial light clouds were present during the early
eclipse but skies had cleared by the time of impact at 8:41pm PST on 1/20/2019.
The moon was at an approximate altitude of 38° with no obstructions.
the flash was extremely brief, maybe 2/10 second and a pinpoint of white light.
The flash was bright enough in binoculars to immediately catch my
attention. There was no hesitation or
waffling as to what the flash was and I thought "meteor” instantly. The
Canon binoculars have a field of 6.5° so the full lunar disc was visible. My
view at impact was on the center of the moon so the flash appeared almost
directly down (vertical) in my field of view very close the lunar edge which
was in full shadow. The impact was not in my visual blind spot which might have
prevented the sighting. I continued to look for more flashes with the
binoculars for about one minute but none were evident.
five minutes before impact I had a Swarovski 20x-60x ATS 65mm spotting scope
coupled to my Samsung Galaxy S8 phone. The phone camera was taking time-lapse
images every 5 seconds. About one minute after the impact I removed the camera
to scan the location with the scope at the location of the impact flash…but saw
up-loaded the frames from the camera to my desktop computer but, unfortunately,
the time-lapse frames did not show the impact flash.
"It was on
Tuesday 1/22/2019 that I saw the first online recorded videos that showed the
impact flash. Using those images of the lunar disc I confirmed that the flash
location matched the location that I observed in real time. What a surprise to see my visual sighting
verified by a video! I have watched several of the recorded videos and still
photos and believe that my visual sighting appeared to be even brighter
relative to the shadowed disc than the images show. In fact, I have not ruled
out the possibility that I might have seen the impact flash as a naked eye
observation. I still plan to try to estimate the visual magnitude to see if a
naked eye observation might have been possible."
has over 50 years’ experience in amateur astronomy and has better than 20/10
visual acuity. He is 100% certain of what he observed.
interesting to compare his observation with my own Lunar Leonid observation in
November 1999. My event was bright enough for me to be absolutely certain that
something happened, but I was using a 14-inch (36-cm) Cassegrain telescope,
while Dr. Schroeder was using a pair of binoculars. While I was watching this
eclipse visually with an 8-inch Cassegrain, and imaging it with a camera zoomed
in 20x, I was not able to see or capture this event. Both of us "will
always remember [our events]"!
Sigismondi brings out an interesting coincidence: Dr. Sigismondi observed an
impact with a small 7x21 telescope on the eclipsed moon of 21 January 2000.
This is exactly 19 years, or one whole Metonic cycle, from the recent eclipse.
Dr. Sigismondi, along with Giovanni Imponente wrote about this event in 2000 in
two papers in the WGN, the Journal of the International Meteor Organization.
Others have reported imaging and visually observing this impact event.
another event took place in the same region of the moon during the January 21,
2000 total lunar eclipse. Dr. Sigismondi observed an impact with a small 7x21
telescope on the eclipsed moon and was also observed/videotaped and confirmed
by Roger Venable (IOTA/US). The interesting aspects of both meteor impact events
include the similarity in date of occurrence and location on the moon. Perhaps
this is indicative of an unknown meteor shower? The next Metonic eclipse of
this series, in 2038, is penumbral so observations of recurrences of this
nature will be impossible that day. However on or around January 21 in future
years, when the moon is favorably placed for such observations. We at ALPO-LMIS
will keep a special lookout for such opportunities in the future and announce
when they occur so as to motivate observers to participate in this new effort.
year’s TLE impact event has renewed interest in observing total lunar eclipses
for meteor impacts. People are encouraged to check images and videos of recent
total lunar eclipses for the appearance of meteoroid impacts.. Cloudy night
activities that would help in this effort is if people find and watch videos
via YouTube of past streaming events of lunar eclipses to look for these
events. If anyone finds such event, please report these to me, the Coordinator.
Here is a list
of recent and future Total Lunar Eclipses (eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov). Visit the
NASA eclipse website for more information on duration of totality and location
2011 June 15
2011 Dec. 10
2014 Apr. 15
2014 Oct. 8
2015 Apr. 4
2015 Sep. 28
2018 Jan. 31
2018 July 27
2019 Jan. 21
2019 Jul. 16
2021 May 26
2022 May 16
2022 Nov. 8
2025 Mar. 14
2025 Sep. 7
2026 Mar. 3
Lunar Meteor Impact Flash
Candidates from Geminids, December 2018
I have received reports
of three lunar Geminid candidates that occurred when the shower was active in December 2018. The
observations were made from ROCG in Brazil by Tiago Augusto, Torres Moreira and
Carlos Henrique Barreto. These were recorded to have occurred at:
23:40:22 on 12 December 2018
00:13:36 on 15 December 2018
00:22:27 on 15 December 2018
00:59:30 on 15 December 2018
01:05:06 on 15 December 2018
You can access a
“slide show” showing each of these impacts in detail at this link. You may also
visit the mirror site which has the images on display on site. We
are looking for confirming observations for these events. The team did a
preliminary analysis with LunarScan and by photometric analysis and was able to
rule out spurious signals. These may or may not be cosmic ray events but these
represent the best impact candidates the team was able to produce.
Lunar Meteor Impact Flash
Candidates from May and July 2018
narrowly missed having a global meteor storm! Would not have done any good for
the observations of lunar meteors (the moon was even closer to the dense ribbon
of comet debris, also…) since the Moon was New at the time. For more details,
go to: https://spaceweatherarchive.com/2018/10/14/earth-dodges-a-meteor-storm/.
Last July was an
active month for lunar meteor impact events. This post was made public then...
“Watch Two Meteorites Hit the Moon!”
The ROCG group in Brazil reports recording another lunar meteor impact
candidate, which was recorded to occur at 21:31:14 UTC on 14 August 2018. Please visit
the mirror site, to view the images. Confirming observations
are sought after, and if you’ve recorded an impact candidate please report it
as soon as possible.
In addition to this, I received a report a few weeks ago from Tiago
Augusto in Brazil on some likely lunar meteor impacts, two of which happened
about the same time. An impact flash was observed at 23:01:36 UT on July 17. This event was
recorded as part of a lunar program that has been in operation for two years,
made at one observatory operated by ROCG (Remote Observatory of Campos dos
Goytazes) and the Exoss Lunar Team. Other observers on this team include Carlos
Henrrique Barreto (who recorded what may be the same flash on 7/17/2018 at
23:01:26UT; we are as of yet unsure why this one has exactly 10 seconds
difference in time from the other), and Torres Moreira.
Jose Madiedo reports that their team recorded two additional impact
flashes on July 19 at 21:53:35UT
and 22:29:07 UT, from Spain with the MIDAS system. It is likely that these four
meteoroids (July 17 and 19) are associated with the alpha Capricornid meteoroid
stream (although a probability of such a correlation has not been determined
In addition to the July 17 and 19 impacts, the Brazil team reports a
flurry of impact flashes in May. They “witnessed lots of suspicious flashes
between 05/22/1018 & 05/23/2018.” We are awaiting verification of an
outburst of meteoroids on the moon during this time frame. The eta Aquariids is
past peak and only minor showers are active at this time. The web site of the
Exoss Lunar Program along with images and data on impact flashes can be found
A news report about the July 17 impacts posted on the networking
website LinkedIN (and also posted on space.com) stated that the meteor impacts
that hit the moon on July 17 were estimated to be about the size of walnuts and
determined to be members of a minor meteor stream alpha Capricornids. This
minor stream is derived from the comet 169P/NEAT. Confirming observations for
the above flashes are requested; also if anyone has observed a flash that needs
verification, please let us know.
We have at least a fair shot at capturing lunar Perseids this month.
The moon is New just before the maximum but the waning crescent Moon leading up
to New, as well as, and especially the waxing crescent Moon after the 13th are
favorably placed for observation of lunar Perseids. The section will continue the ongoing work of
coordinating observations for this and other meteor showers throughout the
remainder of 2018 and beyond. Check the ALPO website and/or join the
Lunarimpacts listserve for more information.
Two Lunar Quadrantid
Candidates Videotaped (January 2017)
During the annual Quadrantid meteor shower the moon was favorably
placed for observation of lunar meteors. The Swiss-Italian team of astronomers
caught two events, highlighted below. If anyone in Europe happened to be
videotaping at the time please check your videos at the indicated times below
for signs of impact flashes. I plan to post the images at the mirror site above
on 19 January.
January 1 at 17:47:15 UT, lasted 2 integration fields (40 ms), imaged with one telescope.
January 3 at 19:18:41 UT, lasted 4 integration fields (80 ms), imaged with two telescopes.
Runs were performed from Rome (Italy), Gordola and Locarno
Reports of Lunar Meteors -
The Swiss-Italian lunar meteor monitoring group, consisting of
observers Rafaello Lena, Stefano Sposetti and Marco Iten, reports the
observations of several impact flashes, each of which was confirmed by Dr. J.M.
Madiedo’s team. These events are summarized in the below table and were
observed in Europe when the Moon was below the horizon for North America.
However anyone monitoring the moon from North America with video and at least
an 8-inch telescope had a good chance of observing impacts from the Northern
Taurid meteor stream. The North Taurids are noted as being the very likely
source of the impact that was the first of over 300 events to be observed by
the Meteoroid Environment team at NASA-Marshall Space Flight Center ten years
The four flash detected by Stefano have
following selenographic coordinates from Dr. Lena’s preliminary computation
using LTVT software package (Mosher and Bondo).
7 November 2015 03:31:26 UT
§ longitude 50.9° E +/- 0.4 °
latitude 24.0° N +/- 0.4 °=> north edge of Mare Crisium about 104 km
west of Eimmart crater
7 November 2015 04:14:07 UT
§ longitude 48.8° E +/- 0.4 °
latitude 0.70° S +/- 0.3 ° => Mare Fecunditatis about 54 km north
east of Messier crater
7 November 2015 05:06:45 UT
§ longitude 62.4° E +/- 0.4°
latitude 4.90° S +/- 0.3 ° => Mare Fecunditatis about 130 km north of
8 November 2015 05:14:09 UT
§ longitude 28.4° E +/- 0.4° latitude 7.3° S +/- 0.3 ° .=> about 83 km
south of Torricelli crater
One additional flash event observed 15 November 2015 18:13:57UT has
also been confirmed by J.M. Madiedo
Many thanks to the Swiss-Italian team for their excellent work and for
reporting these results.
Impact Observation with Plume
made by Marco Iten and reported by Stefano Sposetti, Marco Iten and Rafaello
Marco Iten detected an interesting luminous event most
probably generated by a meteoroidal impact on the Moon occurred the 26 February 2015. The
position of the flash was along the terminator. The brightness of the
flash 0.16 s after the initial detection was +8.0 magV. After the main
lightdrop a successive residual diffuse light lasted for several seconds.
Under the assumption of a meteoroidal impact, we argue that this
post luminous event and its ever growing dimensions was likely caused by
sunlight reflection on ejected materials released by the impact. Marco Iten
detected it visually using no dedicated searching software.
We placed our preliminary report here: http://digilander.libero.it/glrgroup/
or directly to the pdf file: http://www.lunar-captures.com//Selenology_Today/ST_preliminary%20report_2015.pdf
video was shown to impact expert H. Jay Melosh of Purdue University (USA) and
he agrees that this appears to be a genuine impact event, with the ejection of
dust that is made visible as it rises into sunlight. He suggested making
measurements to find the height of the dust cloud. This animated gif image
(aka, the “video”) is accessible from the mirror site linked above.
Older Reports Related to
If you happened to have made observations of
the moon during the LADEE mission (November 2013 through April 2014) in search
of lunar meteors, but have not yet submitted your observations please do so as
soon as possible. Even if you have not looked over/analyzed your media for
events, send it to me and I can get it looked at. Although the LADEE mission is
now history (it crash-landed on the far side of the moon over a year ago, on
April 17, 2014), observations of lunar meteors are still needed. The complete
observing plan for lunar meteors in general for 2015 can be obtained here. The mirror site that complements
this site is online and will display images obtained by observers as soon as
they are received, to give near-real time updates of observers’ results. Also
included will be any information provided by the observer such as date, time,
location, etc. The mirror is part of the “Cosmic Corner” website at http://www.pvamu.edu/physics/cosmic-corner/.
Brian Day of NASA-Ames Research Center wrote:
“The Lunar Meteoroid Impacts and the LADEE mission online workshop was held on
Dec 5, 2013. Presenters included RickElphic (LADEE
Project Scientist), Brian Cudnik (Coordinator of the ALPO Lunar
Meteoritic Impact Search, Author of “Lunar Meteoroid Impacts and How to Observe
Them), Rob Suggs (NASA Meteoroid Environment Office), George Varros (pioneering observer of lunar
meteoroid impacts and author of “Nudger” lunar auto-guider software), and
PeterGural (author of LunarScan impact detection software). Because of
our international audience, the workshop was recorded and archived for
convenient viewing. You can view the workshop at http://connect.arc.nasa.gov/p4zpsnm6weh/.”
I highly recommend visiting this site and
watching the entire conference. Even though the mission has ended, there are
plenty of resources to help one get oriented to the observations of lunar
meteors. More information about the LADEE mission itself can be obtained from http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/LADEE/main/.
One of the main objectives for ground-based
observations was to correlate the occurrence of impact events with changes in
the dust concentration as measured by LADEE. This, combined with careful
measurements of the maximum intensity of the flash, its light curve, and
knowing the impact velocity of the meteoroid, should enable us to get an
estimate of the luminous efficiency (how much impact energy goes into making
the optical flash) of the impact as well as a rough estimate of the mass of the
CANDIDATE IMPACT EVENT FROM FEBRUARY 2014
Bill Porter reported a
recording of a possible impact candidate from about 12:30 UTC on Feb 23.
Location was in the eastern half of Lacus Somniorum, in the general area of
Hall Y1 dome and Hall K crater. George Varros reports: “Using the Virtual Moon
Atlas, the coordinates are close to LONG 36.724 LAT 34.105 - in the vicinity of
the Hall crater.” (An image will be posted to the CosmicCorner mirror site
sometime this week, or before March 6th). The impact appeared quite
faint according to Mr. Porter, who observed this from California, USA. A
comparison star was videotaped a few minutes later ( HIP 82951A, mag 6.55). The
“jury is out” on this one since it shows a gradual rise in brightness, a peak,
then a gradual fall, which is not consistent with a typical impact event.
IMPACT EVENT FROM DECEMBER 2013 and JANUARY 2014
Two candidates from Jan 5:
I don’t know what to make of them. They are both single video field events and
are dim but don’t look like cosmic rays because of their nice shape and
brightness centroids. They have a similar look, are dim and very short, just
like the one from Jan 4. (I’m rescanning
everything using Lunarscan 1.5 after experiencing anomalies or unexpected
Jan 5, 2014 00:12:26 Lat 15.321S
Lon 25.489E inside crater Cyrillus F
Jan 5, 2014 00:31:35 Lat 15.5N
[Images courtesy of George
This is a detection by
Marco Iten and Stefano Sposetti of a probable impact event on the moon. These
are members of the Swiss-Italian team of lunar observers.
2014 Jan 7
coordinates: 15.5° West, 19.5° North (Mare Imbrium)
of artificial satellites along the line-of-view: none in a 3deg diameter
instrument: 125mm refractor with WAT902H2 Ultimate
instrument: 280mm reflector with WAT902H2 Ultimate
courtesy of (left) M. Iten and (right) S. Sposetti.
Lunar meteor observer
George Varros reports the following impact candidate:
I found a single video
field event that may or may not be an impact. It occurred on Jan 4, 2014, at
23:49:37 UT, just south of Gambart B at
Lat 0.979 Long -11.56 I uploaded
and posted an image and a map, in a new folder labeled “01/04/2014 candidate”.
Although it’s only one
video field, the event does not have the visual appearance of a cosmic ray in
that it has a brighter center and is in a matrix of 3×3 pixels – it looks
It was not detected by
Lunarscan probably because the event is only seen in the even video field – the
odd field was blank along with the odd field of the next frame. The picture is
dark because I probably have my gain set too low.
received the following reports (December 7th and 8th)
from the Swiss-Italian Lunar Observation group. Within a day (or two or less)
of the date of this notice, images related to this report will be made
available on the mirror site. Stefano SposettiI reported the following:
Dec 7, Marco
Iten, Raffello Lena, Andrea Manna and I, made some video recordings of the
crescent Moon. We got good, but also poor sky conditions. 2 of us, Marco Iten
and I, detected independently and simultaneously a small flash on the Moon. The
image of Marco Iten shows a very nice bright point of light, lasting about 4
fields (ie. 80 ms). My image is a lot blurred because of wind and strong
turbulence, the flash is washed out but clearly visible at the same instant and
in the same lunar region. The airmass at the moment of the detection was 3.9.
No artificial satellites were along the line-of sight inside a 3deg diameter
centered on the Moon coordinates. We performed no photometry of the flash. To note
that Marco Iten noticed the flash visually in real time, while looking at the
2013 Dec 7
coordinates: 11° West, 14° South (Mare Nubium)
instrument: 125mm refractor with WAT902H2 Ultimate
instrument: 150mm refractor with WAT902H2 Ultimate
Marco Iten, Raffello Lena,
Andrea Manna and I made some video recordings of the crescent Moon in the first
half of December 2013.
“December 8th, 2 of us,
Marco Iten and Stefano Sposetti, detected independently and simultaneously a
small flash on the Moon. The image of Marco Iten shows a somewhat bright point
of light, lasting about 2 fields (ie. 40 ms). The flash of light in the Sposetti's
image is less evident.
“The airmass at the moment
of the detection was 2.19.
satellite INTELSAT 907 was at 66arcmin from the Moon centre at the moment of
the detection, ie. outside the field of view. No other satellites were in a
3degree diameter circle centered on the Moon coordinates.
“We performed no
photometry of the flash.
2013 Dec 8
coordinates: 18° West, 50° South (Longomontanus crater border)
instrument: 125mm refractor with WAT902H2 Ultimate
instrument: 150mm refractor with WAT902H2 Ultimate”
addition to these reports, the NASA-MSFC Meteoroid Environment Office reported,
during the “Workshop Without Walls” web-based meeting last week of a faint
impact candidate on the western (Celestial west) limb of the moon, imaged at 11:07:24.3 on 29
Someone else in e-mail communication mentioned this as being one of three candidates
observed that morning. I do not have an image to go with this report but one
can see it on the online workshop.
Brightest Lunar Meteor Yet
Dr. Madiedo of the
University of Huelva in Spain reported a bright meteor flash caused by a space
rock impacting the Moon’s surface at an estimated 37,900 mph (61,000 km/h),
blasting out a new crater roughly 131 feet (40 meters) wide. This impact was
observed by a pair of telescopes that are part of the MIDAS (Moon Impacts
Detection and Analysis System) observatory, at 8:07UT on September 11, 2013.
The event occurred in Mare Nubium. The meteoroid weighed in at an estimated 880
lbs. (400 kg) and measured between 2.0 and 4.5 feet (0.6 and 1.4 meters) in
diameter. More information about this event can be found at
Small Meteoroid Impact
Observed in Europe on 1 August 2013
I received the following
report from Raffaello Lena of GLR-Italy. He writes: “On August 1, 2013 at 02:21:55.7
UT, a small meteoroid has likely impacted the Moon' s surface. The kinetic
energy transformed by the impact into thermal energy also caused a short a
flash of light that was detected by telescopes of R. Lena, A. Manna and S.
Sposetti. The simultaneity of the flash and the same position on the lunar
surface indicates it is an impact. The event described above has been observed
by Raffaello Lena (GLR group, Rome Italy) with a refractor 130 mm and with a
video camera Mintron. The flash was also detected by Andrea Manna from Cugnasco
(Switzerlnd) with a Schmidt Cassegrain 200 mm and a camera watec 120N+. Stefano
Sposetti (Gnosca, Switzerland) detected the flash using two telescopes:
Refractor 150 mm and SC C11” equipped with watec 902H2 cameras.
Two observatories in
Switzerland are at a distance of 10.0 km. The observatory in Italy (Rome) is at
a very long distance of 558 km from Gnosca (Switzerland). Time synchronicity of
the various files is assured by using a GPS time inserters (KIWI-OSD) and an
Atomic Clock Synchronization protocol. The meteoroidal lunar impact detected on
August, 1, 2013 at 02:21:55.7 UT was simultaneously recorded by four
independent video recordings. The duration of the flash correspond to 0.08s and
reached a peak brightness of 8.3 ± 0.7 mag. The selenographic coordinates of
the lunar impact flash are determined to 73° ± 4° E and 27° ± 3° N, near the
crater Seneca C. The examined impact flash probably corresponds to a
α-Capricornids shower exhibiting favourable impact geometry on the impact
date. Enclosed an image of the detected lunar impact. A report of the observing
session (written by Sposetti, Manna and I) is published in Selenology Today 33,
which can be accessed with the following link:
Largest Meteoroid Impact Yet
Observed on the Moon, March 17, 2013 (before the September 11, 2013 event)
has observed the largest impact yet detected on the moon. At 3:50:55UT on
March 17, 2013, a flash peaking near magnitude 4.0 was observed at lunar
latitude 20.6N, longitude 23.8W. The explosion produced was the equivalent of
that produced by 5 tons of TNT. The crater generated by this explosion is
estimated to be approximately 20 feet (6 meters) in diameter and was produced
by a beach-ball sized meteoroid (about 35-cm diameter) impacting at 57,000
mph (26 km/sec), that possibly is part of a little known meteor shower called
the eta Virginids. More information about this extraordinary event can be
obtained at http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2013/16may_lunarimpact/.
A Likely Impact from a
Sporadic Meteoroid (2011)
(Geologic-Lunar Research) group in Italy reported a very likely lunar meteoroid
impact candidate on 11 February 2011 at 20:36:58.355UT. The obsevers were
Stefano Sposetti and March Iten. Stefano Sposetti reports, “Marco Iten and me
detected a probable impact flash on the Moon, simultaneously, from our two
observatories, located 16km apart. It lasted about 4 fields (i.e. 0.08s) in one
video file; a bit less in the other video file. No artificial satellites were
in a 2-deg field of view at the moment of the detection and the two flashes in
the two video files are located at the same lunar feature.” Since impact was
observed with two telescopes separated by 16km (below the arbitrary 30km
threshold that we use to determine uniqueness) and it has been verified that no
artificial satellites were in the vicinity of the moon at the time of the
impact, this can be considered a confirmed event. More information, including
analysis, can be found at this website http://digidownload.libero.it/glrgroup/st22web.htm.
Jovian Meteors and Observing Resources
Fireballs Videotaped in
One of the ancillary activities of this section is to observe meteors
on other planets. Jupiter has historically provided the richest field for such
observations as seen from Earth’s surface. We encourage video patrols of
Jupiter on a regular basis to monitor the planet for meteors. It would be
useful scientifically to obtain a census of such objects and their frequency of
impact on Jupiter. The monitoring of meteors on Jupiter (and all other solar
system objects) will fall under the domain of the LMIS and I will share more on
this new venture by early 2018. One thing is certain…once we get our
observatory established at Prairie View A&M University in Texas, one of the
first projects I have in mind for the Meade 16-inch is regular monitoring of
Jupiter for meteor impacts and I will certainly need help from interested and
well-equipped observers from this Section.
On May 26th 2017 between 19:24.6 and 19:26.2 UT Sauveur
Pedranghelu videotaped an impact flash in Jupiter’s north polar region. The
flash lasted about 0.7 seconds and displayed two peaks in brightness. The
impact occurred at latitude 51 N and central meridian longitudes: System I = 74
deg.; System II = 159 deg.; and System III = 292 deg. More information about
this observation along with an image can be viewed at this website: http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/new-impact-flash-seen-at-jupiter/
General Astronomy Free e-Book
Available for Download
general interest visual astronomy book (revised and corrected) entitled “The Art and Science of Visual
Astronomy”, is available for free
download. This is where I share my fascination with the aesthetic, visual side
of astronomy and include information on some of the best objects that amateur
astronomers look at on a regular basis. This is meant to instill interest in
visual astronomy as well as keep beginning astronomers hooked and interested in
observing. I cover a wide range, from the natural beauty of the Earth and
daytime sky, to the uniqueness of deep sky objects such as galaxies. A unique
feature of this free e-book are the tables of “equivalent distances” to objects
of various types (both within the local solar system and beyond), that is how
close one would be to a given object of interest to get a naked eye view that
matches what one sees through the eyepiece. Suggestions are always welcome for
improvement. The e-book can be downloaded from here. Please be aware that, because of all the pretty pictures,
it may take a few minutes to download completely. Once it is downloaded, you
can save a copy to your local machine.
10, 2012, a Jovian meteor was observed by a visual observer in Minnesota and
confirmed by video in Texas. It was a two-second long, sixth magnitude meteor
that happened in Jupiter’s atmosphere. It is likely that the object mostly
burnt up in the atmosphere, as observations of the site on subsequent rotations
have yielded no markings. This event serves as a reminder that Jupiter provides
a potential wealth of information in the area of meteoritics and the
interactions between colliding planetary bodies. The story can be read at http://www.spaceweather.com/ (Select September 12 2012 under “Archives” if you do not
see a link to the story anymore). A real-time video of the impact event can be
viewed at http://www.flickr.com/photos/19299984@N08/7976507568. And check out the article published just one day before
that declares “Fireballs Light Up Jupiter” at http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2010/09sep_jovianfireballs/.
Jovian Meteor #1, and #2
Jovian meteor was videotaped as it happened at 18:22UT on 20 August 2010. The
event was recorded independently by two observers in Japan: Masayuki Tachikawa of Kumamoto city was first
to report the event, and Tokyo amateur astronomer Aoki Kazuo made the
confirming recording some 800 km away. More information on this event,
including pictures and video, can be seen on the August 23, 2010 page of www.spaceweather.com. Sky & Telescope also has a story on this which can be
read at http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/home/101264994.html.
the second confirmed meteor observation on Jupiter in 2-1/2 months, with the
first being on June 3rd. The June 3 and 4 (2010) page of www.spaceweather.com has more information, including an image and a video of this
extraterrestrial meteor, which occurred at 20:31 UT on June 3rd. You
can also go to the news section of Astronomy Magazine’s website (http://www.astronomy.com/asy/default.aspx?c=ss&id=26, scroll to the archives near the bottom of the page, select June
2010 and look for the link…) to get the news story. Amateur astronomers
Christopher Go (the Philippines) and Anthony Wesley (Australia) simultaneously
observed this event, making it the first ground-based confirmed observation of
an actual impact event on another world beside the moon (to my knowledge). The
impactor must have been a rather large object to have produced such a bright
flash of light as seen from a half billion miles away.
meteor did not produce any dark markings, and it is unlikely that this one will
do so as well. Both appear to be atmospheric fireballs that disintegrated
before reaching the clouds.
my suggestion (which is now being considered by others) to begin a serious
project of continuously monitoring of Jupiter for impact events. This would
need to be done at high powers, enough for 1 arc-second (or better) resolution.
A setup similar to what is used in lunar meteor or asteroid occultation work,
but with larger telescopes (at least 10-inch) and less sensitive cameras (since
Jupiter is bright) would do the trick, and could reveal the true rate of such
impacts with implications for Earth and the impact probability here.
Observer Resource: Lunar
Meteoroid Impacts and How to Observe Them
The book is
now available for purchase at bookstores as well as online. One can go to
Springer’s website and find more information about the book, at http://www.springer.com/astronomy/book/978-1-4419-0323-5. One can also go to Amazon.com and get it for as little as $17.56
(used) off the publisher price; the website is (it looks truncated so if this
link does not work, simply go to www. amazon.com and type in the title of the
book in the search field, and it will come up)…
LunarScan 1.5 by Peter Gural
The latest version of the automated detection
software is ready for download. Go to http://www.lunarimpacts.com/lunarscan15.zip to download a copy.
This version is usable for formats up to 720x576 (PAL). The software is free
under the condition that you provide impact flash observations
(date/time/location) to NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office at the e-mail
address listed under "Contact Us" at http://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/news/lunar/index.html.
A “Quick Start” guide to LunarScan can be
obtained by clicking here or here.
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
Those impacts observed by at least two independent observers separated by
at least 50 km (30 mi) within 2 degrees of latitude and longitude on the
moon and 2 seconds of time (99% confidence).
Confirmed Observation: Those impacts observed by at least two independent
observers separated by less than 50 km (30 mi) within 5 degrees of
longitude and 5 seconds of time (95% confidence).
- Probable: Those impacts
observed by a single observer having the characteristics of an impact
observation--appearing on two or more video frames, a measurable
point-spread-function (i.e. appearing similar to a star), and/or
confidence at least 80%.
- Candidate: Any impact
observation submitted by a single observer with a confidence of at least
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.
Lunar Impact Information - Links
Lunar Meteoritic Impact Search Program, Observing Resources, Information, and
Statement, General Purpose, and Goals (soon to be posted)
How to Make Lunar Meteor
Observations and Related Resources
to Observing Lunar Meteors I: General (soon to be posted)
A Guide to Observing Lunar Meteors II: Video (soon to be posted)
Varros Lunar Meteor Home Page
NASA Lunar Meteor Impacts Monitoring
Spellman Lunar Meteor Home Page
Worthy of Resurrection: Two past ALPO Lunar Projects
History of Lunar Impacts
Robert McNaught's predictions of the Moon's Encounters with
Dust Trails (1997-2006)
Click here to learn how people were watching for meteor
hits during the 2000 Leonid event
flashers...on the Moon (before the Storm)
Observing Leonids on the Moon (before the Storm)
A Leonid on the Moon? (First News of Possible
Nov.18th Lunar-Leonid Impacts