Letter | Published:

Transient Lunar Phenomena and Electrostatic Glow Discharges

Abstract

TRANSIENT lunar phenomena (TLPs) are evanescent localized glows and obscurations on the Moon; Aristarchus, Alphonsus and Schroeter's Valley are well known areas of activity1. The emitted light is usually described as reddish or pinkish, sometimes with a “sparkling” or “flowing” appearance2,3. The coloration may extend for a distance of 10 miles or more on the lunar surface, with brighter spots 2–3 miles across, and is commonly associated with veiling of the surface features. The average duration of an event is some twenty minutes, but it may persist intermittently for a few hours. No permanent alteration has been detected at the site of any TLP. These phenomena are regarded as distinct from the possible low-level general luminescence most easily detected during total lunar eclipse1.

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