2
$\begingroup$

@TomSpilker's answer mentions the potential effect of dust from the lunar regolith being slightly electrostatically levitated by the charge on the lunar surface induced by the solar wind on telescopic observations of extremely faint celestial objects from the lunar surface.

In addition to the abrasive effects on the optics which can cause optical surface to generate scattered light (the reason that the Dragonfly telescope does what it does so well), the dust could also scatter sunlight itself, causing a (small) bit of sky brightness.

I'll think of this creatively as a "near-field" version of Zodiacal light.

The concept is sound. I'm wondering if there are any physical observations of the brightness of the scattered light from this dust. Has this scattered light ever been detected or measured quantitatively?

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The height of the levitated dust would be very small compared to the diameter of the Moon. Measurement of brightness using a telescope on Earth seems impossible. Is a measurent from a low but stable Moon orbit possible? $\endgroup$ – Uwe Jul 1 '18 at 14:44
  • $\begingroup$ @Uwe perhaps there was even a measurement from below, i.e. a surface based measurement by one of the many manned and unmanned missions that landed there. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jul 1 '18 at 14:47
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Uwe The source I read mentioned that the levitation distance could vary from less than one to maybe a few km. Indeed this would make it very difficult to measure from Earth. Images by an Earth-orbiting telescope like Hubble of a stellar occultation with a bright star might show some forward-scatter, which small particles are good at, but the star itself would certainly saturate the Hubble focal plane sensor and the spillover might overwhelm the dust-scatter region. Such images during a solar eclipse would be useless—the solar corona is way too bright. $\endgroup$ – Tom Spilker Jul 3 '18 at 6:12

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.