Transient Lunar Phenomena



  • Short-lived appearances of colour, obscurations and other effects seen on the Moon and regarded by some as evidence of residual volcanic activity there. Despite many plausible observations, especially one by the Soviet astronomer Nikolai Kozirev in 1958 and from Apollo 11 in 1969, few scientists now take Transient Lunar Phenomena seriously and most regard them mainly as evidence of poor observational method. They have been observed preferentially at some sites, especially the crater Aristarchus, site of the 1958 observation, an indication that they may be genuine but hard to observe. Tides set on the Moon by the Earth could trigger lunar volcanic action, a possibility increased by an apparent grouping of TLPs at some times of the lunar month. Apart from vulcanism, fluorescence of lunar soil under the influence of solar radiation is another possible explanation for TLPs.