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Extending Lunar Impact Flash Observations into the Daytime with Short-Wave Infrared

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posted on 2024-03-27, 13:26 authored by D Sheward, M Delbo, C Avdellidou, A Cook, P Lognonné, E Munaibari, L Zanatta, A Mercatali, S Delbo, P Tanga

Lunar impact flash (LIF) observations typically occur in R, I, or unfiltered light, and are only possible during night, targeting the night side of a 10-60% illumination Moon, while >10°above the observers horizon. This severely limits the potential to observe, and therefore the number of lower occurrence, high energy impacts observed is reduced. By shifting from the typically used wavelengths to the J-Band Short-Wave Infrared, the greater spectral radiance for the most common temperature (2750 K) of LIFs and darker skies at these wavelengths enables LIF monitoring to occur during the daytime, and at greater lunar illumination phases than currently possible. Using a 40.0 cm f/4.5 Newtonian reflector with a Ninox 640SU camera and a J-band filter, we observed several stars and lunar nightside at various times to assess the theoretical limits of the system. We then performed LIF observations during both day and night to maximise the chances of observing a confirmed LIF to verify the methods. We detected 61 > 5σ events, from which 33 candidate LIF events could not be discounted as false positives. One event was confirmed by multi-frame detection, and by independent observers observing in visible light. While this LIF was observed during the night, the observed signal can be used to calculate the equivalent Signal-to-Noise ratio for a similar daytime event. The threshold for daylight LIF detection was found to be between Jmag = +3.4±0.18 and Jmag = +5.6±0.18 (equivalent to Vmag = +4.5 and Vmag = +6.7 respectively at 2750 K). This represents an increase in opportunity to observe LIFs by almost 500%.

History

Author affiliation

College of Science & Engineering/Physics & Astronomy

Version

  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Published in

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Publisher

Oxford University Press (OUP)

issn

0035-8711

eissn

1365-2966

Copyright date

2023

Available date

2024-03-27

Language

en

Deposited by

Dr Chrysa Avdellidou

Deposit date

2024-03-27

Data Access Statement

The impact flash data used within this paper is available upon email request from DS (djs22@aber.ac.uk)

Rights Retention Statement

  • No

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