Space & Astronomy
Scientists in bid to solve Moon flash mystery
By T.K. Randall
June 1, 2019 · 2 comments
What is responsible for flashes of light on the Moon ? Image Credit: CC BY-2.0 Jason Bache
Mysterious flashes have been observed on the Moon for years and it is still unclear exactly what is responsible.
Known as transient lunar phenomena, these anomalous flashes have been known about since the 1950s however scientists have long struggled to determine what might be causing them.
Possible explanations include meteorite impacts, seismic activity or interactivity with the solar wind.
Now in a renewed effort to observe the phenomenon, Prof Hakan Kayal of the Julius Maximilian University of Wurzburg in Germany has built a lunar telescope designed entirely for this purpose.
Located in a private observatory in Spain, the telescope consists of two cameras which monitor the Moon every night. If both register a flash of light at the same time, the system will take a picture, record footage and send a message to Kayal's team for further investigation.
The result is then compared with observations made by the European Space Agency.
"If the same thing was seen there, the event can be considered confirmed," said Kayal.
There are plans to take things further by using artificial intelligence to better filter out false alarms and eventually to implement the same system on a satellite that can observe the Moon from space.
"We will then be rid of the disturbances caused by the atmosphere," said Kayal.
Whether the findings will help to solve the mystery once and for all however remains to be seen.
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