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Lunar Transient Phenomena (LTP)

(glossary entry)


A catch-all phrase for observations of the Moon, sometimes reported by experienced observers, that purport to be of short-lived, non-recurrent phenomena.

Description Wikipedia

Transient Lunar Phenomenon - Lunar Transient Phenomenon

Additional Information

  • The classic catalogs of reported transient events on the Moon are those compiled for NASA by Burley and Middlehurst and expanded by Winifred Cameron. Copies can be found on the ALPO LTP website. Most are also available on the NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS).
  • The vast majority of LTP are completely normal lighting phenomena that had not previously been noticed by, or made an impression on, the observer reporting them.
  • LTP have enjoyed a new wave of popularity (notoriety?) through the recent work of astronomer Arlin Crotts, and associates, at Columbia University.
  • Among the more celebrated telescopic observations of alleged LTP are:
    • Sir William Herschel's account of what he took to be volcanoes erupting on the dark side of the Moon in April 1787.
    • Dr. Leon Stuart's November 1953 photoof what might be an impact flash on the Moon (note: the "newness" of the crater, and its positioning, cited in the NASA press release was later recanted).
      • Note: the flashes from meteoritic impacts on the Moon are very real transient lunar phenomena. Whether this 1953 photo documents one, or not, is open to question.
    • Nikolai Kozyrev's November 1958 spectra of what he interpreted to be gaseous emissions from the central peak of Alphonsus.
    • The October 1963 visual observations of glows in the vicinity of Aristarchus by Greenacre and Barr, two respected U.S. Air Force observers working on producing the LAC series of lunar maps at Lowell Observatory (see Hartmann and Harris, 1968).
    • The November 1963 photographs from Pic du Midi showing what Kopal and Rackham said to be solar wind induced wide area luminescence.

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