Hubble Space Telescope confirms water in lunar atmosphere finding

Note: I wrote this on my earlier blog hosted as I recovered the text from the WayBack Machine. This post appeared on February 13, 2011 as per the time stamp. I’m trying to collect here again all my old writings spread on various blogs.

Tirtha Pratim Das of the Space Physics Lab, VSSC wrote an article in the Voyage Magazine, a magazine written by a few people working in the ISRO labs about the Hubble Space Telescope confirming the presence of water in the lunar exosphere.

The Hubble Space Telescope was making observations of the LCROSS impact last year when it spotted a continuous signature of water vapour emanating from the lunar exosphere. Writing in the Bulletins of the American Astronomical Society, Storrs et. all write an article called “The Impact of the LCROSS Satellite with the Moon as seen by the Hubble Space Telescope“, the authors write:

Images immediately before and after the impact show an enhancement in the scattered light near 300 nm within a minute of the event. Spectra show persistent emission of the OH (1-0) band at 283 nm, which may indicate a permanent lunar exosphere of OH as reported by Sridharan et al (2010), rather than OH produced by photolysis of water liberated by the impact event.

Amidst the hullaboo over the ISRO/DEVAS deal, this is good news for ISRO. Congratulations once again for the CHACE and Chandrayaan-1 teams.

[+ Clarifications]