Encyclopedia of Lunar Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Brian Cudnik

Lunar Transient Phenomena

  • Anthony CookEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-05546-6_5-1


A transient lunar phenomenon (or TLP) is a short-term change on, or above, the lunar surface and can take the form of a colored glow, a brightness variability, an obscuration of detail, gray components to a shadow, or flashes. As far as Earth-based astronomers can tell, no permanent lunar surface changes result, hence why the phenomena are “transient” in nature. In the USA, TLP is sometimes referred to as LTP or lunar transient phenomenon.


The topic of TLP is controversial for three reasons. Firstly, the Moon is essentially a geologically dead world (Heiken et al. 1991), and so astronomers should not expect to see visibly active kilometer-scale surface activity occurring in this modern era. Secondly, the majority of TLPs were discovered by visual Earth-based telescopes which some critics explain away as terrestrial atmospheric, telescope optical, or even psychological factors (Dobbins and Sheehan 2014). Thirdly, TLPs must be extremely rare (Hynek et al. 1976),...


Solar Wind Lunar Surface Luminous Efficiency Lunar Prospector Dust Plume 
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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhysicsUniversity of AberystwythAberystwyth, CeredigionUK