First Lunar Flashes Observed from Morocco (ILIAD Network): Implications for Lunar Seismology
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We report the detection of two transient luminous events recorded on the lunar surface on February 6, 2013, at 06:29:56.7 UT and April 14, 2013, 20:00:45.4 from the Atlas Golf Marrakech observatory in Morocco. Estimated visual magnitudes are 9.4 ± 0.2 and 7.7 ± 0.2. We show that these events have the typical characteristics of impact flashes generated by meteoroids impacting the lunar surface, despite proof using two different telescopes is not available. Assuming these events were lunar impact flashes, meteoroid masses are 0.3 ± 0.05 and 1.8 ± 0.3 kg, corresponding to diameters of 7–8 and 14–15 cm for a density of 1500 kg m−3. The meteoroids would have produced craters of about 2.6 ± 0.3 and 4.4 ± 0.3 m in diameter. We then present a method based on the identification of lunar features illuminated by the Earthshine to determine the position of the flash. The method does not require any information about the observation geometry or lunar configuration. The coordinates are respectively 08.15° ± 0.15°S 59.1° ± 0.15°E and 26.81° ± 0.15°N 09.10° ± 0.15°W. Further improvement on the determination of the flash position is necessary for seismological applications. This studies demonstrates that permanent lunar impact flashes observation programs may be run in different parts of the globe using mid-sized telescopes. We call for the development of an international lunar impact astronomical detection networks that would represent an opportunity for scientific and cultural developments in countries where astronomy is under-represented.