lunar image of the month

january: schröterís valley

Transient Lunar Phenomena, or TLPs, have long been a subject of dispute amonst lunar observers. Many people claim to have seen these temporary bright or fuzzy patches on the lunar surface, often ascribed to outgassing or lunar volcanic activity. In 1958 the Russian astronomer Nikolai Kozyrev claimed to have spectrographic proof of a TLP in the Alphonsus region, but received a mixed reaction from the scientific community.

Late last year a team led by Bonnie Buratti of JPL used images like this mosaic, which uses false colour to represent the ratios between blue, red, and near-infrared wavelengths, to make comparisons over a period of weeks.

It was claimed that indisputable evidence had been found of changes on the edge of the Cobra Head, the crater (lower centre) at the end of Schröterís Valley. However, the latest report is that colour corrections have eliminated the effect. The TLP debate continues...

Image: Paul Spudis, Clementine Project.