We observed the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) lunar impact on 9 October 2009 using three telescope and instrument combinations in southern New Mexico: the Agile camera with a V filter on the Astrophysical Research Consortium 3.5 m telescope at Apache Point Observatory (APO), a StellaCam video camera with an R filter on the New Mexico State University (NMSU) 1 m telescope at APO, and a Goodrich near-IR (J and H band) video camera on the NMSU 0.6 m telescope at Tortugas Mountain Observatory. The three data sets were analyzed to search for evidence of the debris plume that rose above the Cabeus crater shortly after the LCROSS impact. Although we saw no evidence of the plume in any of our data sets, we constrained its surface brightness through analysis of our photometrically calibrated data. The minimum surface brightness that we could have detected in our Agile data was 9.69 magnitudes arc sec-2, which is 177 times fainter than the brightest part of the foreground ridge of Cabeus. In our near-IR data, our minimum detectable surface brightness was 8.58 magnitudes arc sec-2, which is 370 times fainter than the brightest part of the foreground ridge in the J and H bands. The debris plume was detected by the LCROSS shepherding spacecraft and the Diviner radiometer on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. Given the plume radiance observed by LCROSS, we cannot distinguish between a conical or cylindrical plume geometry because when seen from Earth, both are below our detection thresholds.
Journal of Geophysical Research (Planets)
- Pub Date:
- August 2011
- Planetary Sciences: Solid Surface Planets: Impact phenomena;
- cratering (6022;
- Planetary Sciences: Comets and Small Bodies: Impact phenomena (5420;
- Planetary Sciences: Solar System Objects: Moon (1221)