Hi Old Town Astronomers - I thought you all would find this
NASA Astronomer Diane Wooden is about to begin an observing session
using the IRTF at Mauna Kea in support of next year's LCROSS lunar
impactor mission. The phase and libration this Wednesday, Thursday, and
Friday (October 8-10) could be a good match for those of one of our
favored impact scenarios next year. This will provide an opportunity for
detailed planning and observations of potential target lunar terrain.
Diane would like to supplement her observations with images of the lunar
south polar region acquired with a range of amateur telescopes over the
same evenings. Diane's observations will be in the IR, and amateur
white-light observations could provide valuable additional data for
these lighting conditions. Faustini crater, one of the potential impact
sites will be on the limb on the night of Oct 10 UT (Oct 9 PDT).
Comparison of IRTF and amateur observations now will also help determine
how amateur observations can best be used during the impact and provide
valuable information to participating amateurs in planning their imaging
procedures for next year.
Images from telescopes of all sizes are welcome. If you are able to
participate and acquire images during these selected evenings, please
send the following information to me at Brian.H.Day(a)nasa.gov:
Name of observer
Email address of observer
Aperture of telescope
Focal length of telescope
Type of camera used
Camera detector dimensions
Time and date of exposure
Location from which exposure was taken
Please do not send your actual image file along with this information!
Once I receive the above information from you, I will contact you and
work out a way to receive your file in a way that will not overwhelm our
mail server here.
A map of the extreme south polar region of the Moon can be found at:
Note that Faustini is labeled as R3 on these maps (next to the crater
Amundsen). The crater Cabaeus is also of interest as a possible impact
site. Three additional images identifying south polar features are
included in this message.
NASA's LCROSS mission is scheduled to fly in 2009. It is co-manifested
with LRO; both missions will launch together aboard an Atlas V out of
Cape Canaveral, Fla. LCROSS will use the Centaur upper stage of the
launch vehicle as a kinetic impactor directed at 2.5 km/s into one of
the permanently-shadowed craters at the Moon's pole. The LCROSS
spacecraft will fly directly through the resulting plume of debris,
analyzing it for signs of water ice that may have accumulated within the
crater. The debris plume will also be studied by space-based assets
(such as LRO, and HST), ground-based observatories, and amateur
telescopes. Researchers believe that the LCROSS impact plume may well be
observable in amateur telescopes, and that amateurs may be able to take
on a valuable role in this exciting mission.
Please share this information with your colleagues. I am looking forward
to working with you as members of the amateur community become key
participants in the LCROSS mission.
Any opinions expressed in this message are strictly my own and do not
necessarily reflect those of NASA, its contracting agencies, or any
other life form in the Universe.
Please note my new email address
Brian H. Day
AETT Technical Lead
LCROSS E/PO Lead
NASA Ames Research Center
Moffett Field, CA 94035-1000
Jane Houston Jones
34.2048N 118.1732W, 637.0 feet
Old Town Astronomers: http://www.otastro.org