Letter | Published:

Lunar Luminescence



FOLLOWING the report of the characteristic red luminescence of enstatite achondrite meteorites under proton excitation1, Kopal and Rackham photographed the Moon through interference filters with passbands near the maximum and minimum of the enstatite emission profile, in a search for regions which might show this characteristic emission. They reported finding such a region around the crater Kepler2, and concluded that this crater might therefore have been produced by a large enstatite achondrite meteorite. However, a difficulty is that after an impact the material spread around would probably be largely lunar surface material, with only a small proportion—perhaps one part in a thousand3—of material from the actual meteorite. This view is fairly widely held, but does not seem to have been mentioned specifically in the correspondence which has followed these observations.

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  1. 1

    Derham, C. J., and Geake, J. E., Nature, 201, 62 (1964).

  2. 2

    Kopal, Z., and Rackham, T. W., Nature, 201, 239 (1964).

  3. 3

    Salisbury, J. W., and Smalley, V. G., The Lunar Surface Layer, edit. by Salisbury, J. W., and Glazer, P. E., 418 (Academic Press, 1964).

  4. 4

    Cameron, A. G. W., Nature, 202, 785 (1964).

  5. 5

    Greenacre, J. A., Sky and Telescope, 26, 316 (1963).

  6. 6

    Urey, H. C., Proc. Chem. Soc., 1958, P. 67; also: preprint, 1964, submitted to Mon. Not. Roy. Astro. Soc.

  7. 7

    Cameron, A. G. W. (private communication).

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