, Volume 93, Issue 2, pp 97-106

The Observation and Characterization of Lunar Meteoroid Impact Phenomena

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Abstract

Confirmed observations of meteoroids from the Leonid stream impacting the Moon in 1999 and 2001 have opened up new opportunities in observational and theoretical astronomy. These opportunities could help bridge the gap between the ground-based (atmospheric) sampling of the smallest meteoroids and the larger objects observable with ground-based telescopes. The Moon provides a laboratory for the study of hypervelocity impacts, with collision velocities not yet possible in ground-based laboratories. Development of automatic detection software removes the time-intensive activity of laboriously reviewing data for impact event signatures, freeing the observer to engage in other activities. The dynamics of professional-amateur astronomer collaboration have the promise of advancing the study of lunar meteoritic phenomenon considerably. These three factors will assist greatly in the development of a systematic, comprehensive program for monitoring the Moon for meteoroid impacts and determining the physical nature of these impacts.