venerdì 2 agosto 2013


On August 1, 2013 I detected the  first lunar impact candidate.  During last three years i only recorded spurious signals, cosmic rays and/or satellites glints. The lunar flash  was simultaneously detected (and confirmed) by two friends of mine Stefano Sposetti and Andrea Manna, with their Observatories located in Switzerland.

I couldn't reach this first real detection without the valuable help of Stefano Sposetti and Marco Iten, which worked for a long time on detection of lunar impacts (writing with me several articles).

Since many years I also was stimulated by some friends in GLR group encouraging me when I detected only spurious flashes (in particular i was encouraged for this activity by Jim Phillips and Maria Teresa Bregante).  

I have worked long and hard to capture an impact and my persistence and dedication have paid off.

Moon data, at the moment of the detection, as seen from Raffaello Lena’s observatory (Rome Italy)

Observatory coordinates (GPS):  Lat. 41.94156° N and 
Long. 12.56089°  (H=30 m).

Horizon: Azim: 90°50' Alt: +29°47'
Visibility: Rise 01:27, Set 16:26 UTC August, 1, 2013
Transit time:   08:54 UTC

Moon angular diameter: 00°.29’.87’’
Moon distance: 400009 km
Lunation: 23.80 days
Illumination: 27.8%
Colongitude: 202.4°

Libration in Latitude: +03°07'
Libration in Longitude: +04°25'
Sub-solar latitude: -1.5°

Instrument: TMB refractor 13 cm equipped with Mintron camera MTV-12V1C-EX

Videograbber: Logilink EasyCup USB2 Video Adapter, S-Video input

Recording software: VirtualDub with Huffyuv v. 2.1.1 compression Avi file saved on Hard disk

CCIR recording mode@25fps (Integration frame time 0.04 sec)

Atomic Clock Synchronization

 This morning, August 1, 2013 at 02:21:55 UT, a small meteoroid has impacted the Moon's surface. The kinetic energy transformed by the impact into thermal energy also caused a short  flash of light that was detected by three telescopes. 
We used Calsky© ( to search for artificial satellites in the lineof-sight. No satellites within a circle of 3° diameter were found.

The simultaneity of the bright flash and the same position on the lunar surface indicates it is an impact. 

Detected lunar impact occurred on August 1 2013 at 02:21:55 UT imaged by Raffaello Lena (Italy),   Andrea Manna and Stefano Sposetti (Switzerland)

Superimposed frame of the detected flash
coordinates 73° E +/- 
4° and 27° N +/- 3°

giovedì 1 agosto 2013

The selenographic coordinates were computed using the images by Lena and Sposetti  displaying several lunar features that were of very low contrast on the dark limb of the imaged lunar
After alignment with the edge of the lunar disk, computation of the libration, and overlay of the rotated Moon's surface matching the image, a coordinate map was superimposed on the flash image. This procedure was performed using the LTVT and VMA software packages. The impact occurred near the crater Seneca C (coordinates of the flash correspond to 73° ± 4° E and 27° ± 3° N).

Animation of the impact I detected (and confirmed with further two independent observations) with high contrast/enlargment and with a slow motion in 8 fps. 
TMB 13 cm Mintron camera (low gain, gamma 1 and 25 fps)
August 1, 2013 at 02:21:55.640 UT from Rome Italy.
Original AVI (segment  at the impact time shown at 4 fps and at 25 fps). Further data are reported below 

It is apparent that the flash was spread over 3x2 pixels. The psf-fitting method yields a FWHM of 2.7x1.9 pixels.

The flash at its maximum, 5x enlarged

The xy-profiles-intensities of the flash at its maximum

The flash was simultaneously recorded by four telescopes and videocams placed in Italy and Switzerland. The recorded flash was quite brief 0.08s in the Sposetti’s video (Gnosca, air mass 2.33) made with the 280 mm reflector. We argue this flash is originated by meteoroidal impact. The flash reached a peak brightness of  8.3 ± 0.7 mag.

I have enclosed an animation from the original video taken by Sposetti (with a 280 mm reflector), where the flash is detectable very well.

(Video by Stefano Sposetti Gnosca Switzerland)

In addition the mass of the impactor  for the flash occurred on August 1, 2013 at 02:21:55 UT is estimated using a nominal model with conversion efficiency from kinetic to optical energy of 2×10-3 and 2×10-2. The results show that the meteoroid, probably attributable to the α-Capricornids shower, is to range in size from about 6 to 12 cm in diameter producing a crater of about 3-7 m in diameter.

A full article on the impact  is published in Selenology Today 33

The simultaneity of the flash observations, at the same position on the lunar surface strongly indicate the flash is unlikely to be mistaken for anything other than an impact.

four images at higher resolution confirming the impact

On december 6, 2013  at 20.00 UT there was a videoconference organized by nasa regarding the 
Ladee mission.

With great pleasure George Varros has mentioned our team working on lunar impacts, and he has shown also last detection on 
August 1 2013 recorded by Andrea Manna , stefano Sposetti and I (Raf Lena). In the videoconference the page of the Selenology Today 33, our Journal,  is shown too. Our mention is at about time 3h01m00s

A screen shot (of our citation) is reported above.

Further news on the impact are reported here

Impact Candidates Reported to the MEO by Independent Observers