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Sodium Atoms in the Lunar Exotail: Observed Velocity and Spatial Distributions

Line, Michael R. and Mierkiewicz, E. J. and Oliversen, R. J. and Wilson, J. K. and Haffner, L. M. and Roesler, F. L. (2012) Sodium Atoms in the Lunar Exotail: Observed Velocity and Spatial Distributions. , Pasadena, CA. (Submitted)

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The lunar sodium tail extends long distances due to radiation pressure on sodium atoms in the lunar exosphere. Our earlier observations measured the average radial velocity of sodium atoms moving down the lunar tail beyond Earth (i.e., near the anti-lunar point) to be ~ 12.5 km/s. Here we use the Wisconsin H-alpha Mapper to obtain the first kinematically resolved maps of the intensity and velocity distribution of this emission over a 15 x 15 deg region on the sky near the anti-lunar point. We present both spatially and spectrally resolved observations obtained over four nights bracketing new Moon in October 2007. The spatial distribution of the sodium atoms is elongated along the ecliptic with the location of the peak intensity drifting 3 deg east along the ecliptic per night. Preliminary modeling results suggest the spatial and velocity distributions in the sodium exotail are sensitive to the near surface lunar sodium velocity distribution. Future observations of this sort along with detailed modeling offer new opportunities to describe the time history of lunar surface sputtering over several days.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
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URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Line, Michael R.0000-0002-2338-476X
Additional Information:Preprint submitted to Icarus April 4, 2012. The authors thank M. Mendillo and R. Reynolds for their valuable assistance as well as K. Nordsieck for providing the sodium filter. We thank all the members of the WHAM collaboration, in particular K. Jaehnig, A. Hill, G. Madsen and K. Barger. Finally, we thank the National Solar Observatory mountain support staff, C. Plymate and E. Galayda for their support and hosting us during the WHAM observations. M. Line's involvement as an undergraduate at Wisconsin was partially supported by a UW-Madison Hilldale Undergraduate Fellowship. This work was also funded by NASA award NNX11AE38G. WHAM construction and operations were primarily supported by the National Science Foundation; in particular, the use of WHAM described here was partially supported by awards AST-0607512 and AST-1108911.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
UW-Madison Hilldale Undergraduate FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Moon, Aeronomy, Spectroscopy
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20120416-074336757
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:30087
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:25 Apr 2012 17:20
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 03:47

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