Earth, Moon, and Planets

, Volume 115, Issue 1–4, pp 1–21 | Cite as

First Lunar Flashes Observed from Morocco (ILIAD Network): Implications for Lunar Seismology

  • Mamoun Ait Moulay Larbi
  • Ahmed Daassou
  • David Baratoux
  • Sylvain Bouley
  • Zouhair Benkhaldoun
  • Mohamed Lazrek
  • Raphael Garcia
  • Francois Colas


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.


Meteoroids Impact flash Crater Moon 



The authors would like to thank the Partenariat Hubert Curien/Volubilis Program (PHC24675QJ, Impact rate in the Earth-Moon System), which provided financial support for the collaboration between Morocco and France. The Institut National des Sciences de l'Univers and the Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées are also acknowledged for financial support. We are grateful to the Mr. Hila Omar and its company Atlas Golf Marrakech for putting at our disposal the equipments of their observatory.


  1. N.A. Artemieva, V.V. Shuvalov, I.A. Trubetskaya, Lunar Leonid meteors numerical simulations. Lunar Planet. Sci. XXXI, Abstract 1402 (2000)Google Scholar
  2. N.A. Artemieva, I.B. Kosarev, I.V. Nemtchinov, I.A. Trubetskaya, V.V. Shuvalov, Light flashes caused by Leonid meteoroid impacts on the lunar surface. Sol. Syst. Res. 35, 177–180 (2001)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. W.J. Baggaly, The possibility of the detection of meteor streams in interplanetary space. Observatory 97, 123–129 (1977)ADSGoogle Scholar
  4. D. Baratoux, C. Delacourt, P. Allemand, Digital elevation models derived from viking images :method and comparison to mola data. J. Geophys. Res. 106(12), 32,927–32,941 (2001)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. D. Baratoux, M.J. Toplis, M. Monnereau, V. Sautter, The petrological expression of early Mars vol- canism. J. Geophys. Res. 118, 59–64 (2013). doi: 10.1029/2012JE004234 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. M. Beech, I. Alison, P. Brown, A telescopic search for large Perseid meteoroids. Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 348, 13951400 (2004). doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2966.2004.07462.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. L.R. Bellot Rubio, J.L. Ortiz, P.V. Sada, Observation and interpretation of meteoroid impact flashes on the Moon. Earth Moon Planets 8283, 575598 (2000b)Google Scholar
  8. E. Berthier, H. Vadon, D. Baratous, Y. Arnaud, C. Vincente, K.L. Feigl, F. Rmy, B. Legresy, Surface motion of mountain glaciers derived from satellite optical imagery. Remote Sens. Environ. 95, 14–28 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. J.P. Bibring, Y. Langevin, J.F. Mustard, F. Poulet, R. Arvidson, A. Gendrin, B. Gondet, N. Mangold, P. Pinet, F. Forget, Global mineralogical and aqueous Mars history derived from OMEGA/Mars express data. Science 312, 400–404 (2006). doi: 10.1126/science.1122659 ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. S. Bouley, D. Baratoux, J. Vaubaillon, A. Mocquet, M. Le Feuvre, F. Colas, Z. Benkhaldoun, A. Daassou, M. Sabil, P. Lognonne, Power and duration of impact flashes on the Moon: implication for the cause of radiation. Icarus 218, 115–124 (2012). doi: 10.1016/j.icarus.2011.11.028 ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. P. Brown, R.E. Spalding, D.O. ReVelle, E. Tagliaferri, S.P. Worden, The flux of small near-Earth objects colliding with the Earth. Nature 420, 294–296 (2002)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. B. Casson, C. Delacourt, D. Baratoux, P. Allemand, 17 years of la clapi‘ere landslide evolution analysed from aerial ortho-rectified photographs. Eng. Geol. 68, 123–139 (2003)Google Scholar
  13. R. Clark, H. Melosh, The detectability of lunar impacts in the near infrared. Masters thesis, The University of Arizona, Department of Planetary Sciences, 1996Google Scholar
  14. W.J. Cooke, R.M. Suggs, R.J. Suggs, W.R. Swift, N.P. Hollon, Rate and distribution of kilogram lunar impactors. In 38 lunar and planetary science conference (2007), p. 1986Google Scholar
  15. B. Cudnik, Lunar Meteorid Impacts and How to Observe Them (Springer, Berlin, 2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. S.S. Davis, An analytical model for a transient vapor plume on the Moon. Icarus 202, 383–392 (2009). doi: 10.1016/j.icarus.2009.03.019 ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. J. Gagnepain-Beyneix, P. Lognonne, H. Chenet, D. Lombardi, T. Spohn, A seismic model of the lunar mantle and constraints on temperature and mineralogy. Phys. Earth Planet. Inter. 159, 140–166 (2006). doi: 10.1016/j.pepi.2006.05.009 ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. R.F. Garcia, J. Gagnepain-Beyneix, S. Chevrot, P. Lognonne, Very preliminary reference Moon model. Phys. Earth Planet. Inter. 188, 96–113 (2011). doi: 10.1016/j.pepi.2011.06.015 ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. D.E. Gault, R. Greeley, P.H. Schultz, A primer in lunar geology. Moffett Field: NASA Ames Research Center (1974), pp. 137–175Google Scholar
  20. P. Gural, Automated detection of lunar impact flashes. Meteoroid environments workshop. NASA MSFC, Huntsville, Alabama (2007)Google Scholar
  21. W. Hartmann, Martian cratering 8: isochron refinment and the chronology of Mars. Icarus 174, 294–320 (2005). doi: 10.1016/j.icarus.2004.11.023 ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. H. Hiesinger, J.W. Head, U. Wolf, R. Jaumann, G. Neukum, Ages and stratigraphy of lunar mare basalts in Mare Frigoris and other nearside maria based on crater size-frequency distribu- tion measurements. J. Geophys. Res. 115(E14), 3003 (2010). doi: 10.1029/2009JE003380 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Q. Huang, M.A. Wieczorek, Density and porosity of the lunar crust from gravity and topography. J. Geophys. Res. 117, 5003 (2012). doi: 10.1029/2012JE004062 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. B.A. Ivanov, Mars/Moon cratering rate ratio estimates. Sp. Sci. Rev. 96, 87–104 (2001)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. B.A. Ivanov, Earth/Moon impact rate comparison: searching constraints for lunar secondary/primary cratering proportion. Icarus 183, 504–507 (2006). doi: 10.1016/j.icarus.2006.04.004 ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. M. Iye, M. Tanaka, M. Yanagisawa, N. Ebizuka, K. Ohnishi, C. Hirose, N. Asami, Y. Komiyama, H. Furusawa, SuprimeCam observation of sporadic meteors during Perseids 2004. Publ Astron Soc Jpn 59, 841–855 (2007)ADSGoogle Scholar
  27. M. Le Feuvre, M.A. Wieczorek, Nonuniform cratering of the terrestrial planets. Icarus 197, 291–306 (2008). doi: 10.1016/j.icarus.2008.04.011 ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. M. Le Feuvre, M.A. Wieczorek, Nonuniform cratering of the Moon and a revised crater chronology of the inner Solar System. Icarus 214, 1–20 (2011). doi: 10.1016/j.icarus.2011.03.010 ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. P. Lognonné, M. Le Feuvre, C.L. Johnson, R.C. Weber, Moon meteoritic seismic hum: steady state prediction. J Geophys Res 114(E13), E12,003 (2009). doi: 10.1029/2008JE003294 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. J.M. Madiedo, J.L. Ortiz, J.M. Trigo-Rodrguez, N. Moral, J. Cabrera-Cano, A large lunar impact blast on september 11th 2013. Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. (2013) doi: 10.1093/mnras/stu083
  31. J.M. Madiedo, J.M. Trigo-Rodrguez, J.L. Ortiz, N. Moral, Robotic systems for meteor observing and moon impact flashes detection in Spain. Adv. Astron. (2009) doi: 10.1155/2010/167494
  32. S. Marchi, S. Mottola, G. Cremonese, M. Massironi, E. Martellato, A new chronology for the Moon and Mercury. Astron. J. 137, 4936–4948 (2009). doi: 10.1088/0004-6256/137/6/4936 ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. S. Marchi, H.Y. McSween, D.P. Obrien, P. Schenk, M.C. De Sanctis, R. Gaskell, R. Jaumann, S. Mottola, F. Preusker, C.A. Raymond, T. Roatsch, C.T. Russell, The violent collisional history of asteroid 4 Vesta. Science 336, 690 (2012). doi: 10.1126/science.1218757 ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. H.J. Melosh, N.A. Artemjeva, A.P. Golub, I.V. Nemchinov, V.V. Shuvalov, I.A. Trubetskaya, Remote visual detection of impacts on the lunar surface. In 24th lunar and planetary institute science conference abstracts (1993), pp. 975–976Google Scholar
  35. D. Mimoun, M.A. Wieczorek, L. Alkalai, W.B. Banerdt, D. Baratoux, J.L. Bougeret, S. Bouley, B. Cecconi, H. Falcke, J. Flohrer, R.F. Garcia, R. Grimm, M. Grott, L. Gurvits, R. Jaumann, C.L. Johnson, M. Knapmeyer, N. Kobayashi, A. Konovalenko, D. Lawrence, M.L. Feuvre, P. Lognonne, C. Neal, J. Oberst, N. Olsen, H. Rottgering, T. Spohn, S. Vennerstrom, G. Woan, P. Zarka, Farside explorer: unique science from a mission to the farside of the moon. Exp Astron 33, 529–585 (2012). doi: 10.1007/s10686-011-9252-3 ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. O. Mousis, et al. Instrumental methods for professional and amateur collaborations in planetary astronomy. Exp Astron 38(1–2), 91–191 (2013). doi: 10.1007/s10686-014-9379-0
  37. G. Neukum, R. Jaumann, H. Hoffmann, E. Hauber, J. Head, A. Basilevsky, B. Ivanov, S. Werner, S. van Gasselt, J. Murray, T. McCord, H.C.I. team, Recent and episodic volcanic and glacial activity on mars revealed by the high resolution stereo camera. Nature 432, 971–979 (2004)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. J. Oberst, A. Christou, R. Suggs, D. Moser, I.J. Daubar, A.S. McEwen, M. Burchell, T. Kawamura, H. Hiesinger, K. Wunnemann, R. Wagner, M.S. Robinson, The present-day flux of large meteoroids on the lunar surface—a synthesis of models and observational techniques. Planet. Sp. Sci. 74, 179–193 (2012)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. J.L. Ortiz, P.V. Sada, L.R. Bellot Rubio, F.J. Aceituno, J. Aceituno, P.J. Gutierrez, U. Thiele, Optical detection of meteoroidal impacts on the Moon. Nature 405, 921–923 (2000)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. J.L. Ortiz, F.J. Aceituno, J.A. Quesada, J. Aceituno, M. Fernandez, P. Santos-Sanz, J.M. Trigo- Rodrguez, J. Llorca, F.J. Martn-Torres, P. Montan es-Rodrguez, E. Palle, Detection of spo- radic impact flashes on the Moon: implications for the luminous efficiency of hypervelocity impacts and derived terrestrial impact rates. Icarus 184, 319–326 (2006). doi: 10.1016/j.icarus.2006.05.002 ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. F. Poulet, N. Mangold, B. Platevoet, J.M. Bardintzeff, V. Sautter, J.F. Mustard, J.P. Bibring, P. Pinet, Y. Langevin, B. Gondet, A. Al eon-Toppani, Quantitative compositional analysis of martian mafic regions using the MEx/OMEGA reflectance data. 2. Petrological implications. Icarus 201, 84–101 (2009). doi: 10.1016/j.icarus.2008.12.042 ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. C. Quantin, N. Mangold, W.K. Hartmann, P. Allemand, Possible long-term decline in impact rates. 1. Martian geological data. Icarus 186, 1–10 (2007). doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2006.07.008Google Scholar
  43. L.R. B. Rubio, J.L. Ortiz, P.V. Sada, Luminous efficiency in hypervelocity impacts from the 1999 lunar Leonids. Astrophys. J. 542, L65–L68 (2000a). doi: 10.1086/312914 ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. A. Schaum, M. McHugh, Analytical methods of image registration : displacement estimation and resampling. Tech. Rep. NRL Report 9298, Image registration and correlation (1996)Google Scholar
  45. D. Steel, Meteoroid orbits. Sp. Sci. Rev. 78, 507–553 (1996)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. R.M. Suggs, W.J. Cooke, H.M. Koehler, R.J. Suggs, D.E. Moser, W.R. Swift, Lunar meteoroid impact observations and the flux of kilogram-sized meteoroids. In Proceedings of the meteoroids 2010 conference, NASA CP-2011-216469 (2011b), pp. 116–124Google Scholar
  47. R. Suggs, D. Moser, Lunar meteoroid impact monitoring for LADEE. Lunar meteoroid impacts and LADEE mission workshop (2013)Google Scholar
  48. R.M. Suggs, D.E. Moser, W.J. Cooke, R.J. Suggs, The flux of kilogram-sized meteoroids from lunar impact monitoring. Icarus 238, 23–36 (2014). doi: 10.1016/j.icarus.2014.04.032
  49. R.J. Suggs, R.M. Suggs, D.E. Moser, D. Blaauw, The Flux of kilogram-sized Meteoroids from lunar impact monitoring. NASA Meteor video observations and analysis workshop (2011a)Google Scholar
  50. R.M. Suggs, W.J. Cooke, R.J. Suggs, W.R. Swift, N. Hollon, The NASA lunar impact monitoring program. Earth Moon Planets 102, 293–298 (2008). doi: 10.1007/s11038-007-9184-0 ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. W.R. Swift, D.E. Moser, R.M. Suggs, W.J. Cooke, An exponential luminous efficiency mode for hypervelocity impact into lunar regolith. In Proceedings of the meteoroids 2010 conference, NASA CP-2011-216469 (2011), pp. 116–124Google Scholar
  52. J. Vaucher, D. Baratoux, N. Mangold, P. Pinet, K. Kurita, M. Gregoire, The volcanic history of central Elysium Planitia: Implications for martian magmatism. Icarus 204, 418–442 (2009). doi: 10.1016/j.icarus.2009.06.032 ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. R. Yamada, R.F. Garcia, P. Lognonne, M.L. Feuvre, M. Calvet, J. Gagnepain-Beyneix, Optimisation of seismic network design: application to a geophysical international lunar network. Planet. Sp. Sci. 59, 343–354 (2011). doi: 10.1016/j.pss.2010.12.007 ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. M. Yanagisawa, N. Kisaichi, Lightcurves of 1999 Leonid impact flashes on the Moon. Icarus 159, 31–38 (2002)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. M. Yanagisawa, K. Ohnishi, Y. Takamura, H. Masuda, Y. Sakai, M. Ida, M. Adachi, M. Ishida, The first confirmed Perseid lunar impact flash. Icarus 182, 489–495 (2006). doi: 10.1016/j.icarus.2006.01.004 ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mamoun Ait Moulay Larbi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ahmed Daassou
    • 1
  • David Baratoux
    • 2
  • Sylvain Bouley
    • 3
    • 4
  • Zouhair Benkhaldoun
    • 1
  • Mohamed Lazrek
    • 1
  • Raphael Garcia
    • 5
  • Francois Colas
    • 4
  1. 1.Laboratoire de Physique des Hautes Energies et Astrophysique, FSSMUniversité Cadi AyyadMarrakechMarocco
  2. 2.UPS-OMP, GETUniversité de ToulouseToulouseFrance
  3. 3.GEOPS, UMR8148Université Paris-SudOrsay CedexFrance
  4. 4.Institut de Mécanique Céleste et de Calcul des EphéméridesObservatoire de ParisParisFrance
  5. 5.Institut Supérieur de l’Aéronautique et de l’Espace (ISAE)ToulouseFrance

Personalised recommendations