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The Atmosphere of the Moon

  • Michael Mendillo
Conference paper

Abstract

The possible existence of a lunar atmosphere has both fascinated and challenged astronomers for hundreds of years. Galileo searched for evidence of clouds, and Kepler imagined an Earth-like climate. Landings during the Apollo era brought instruments that measured a weak atmospheric pressure. Decades later, new spectrographic and imaging instruments detected sodium and potassium gas that extended to surprisingly large distances, making the Moon’s gaseous environment appear as comet-like. The sources of the lunar atmosphere involve the impact of sunlight, solar wind plasma and meteors upon the surface to release atoms and perhaps molecules. Solar radiation and the gravitational influence of the Earth play dramatic roles in the subsequent evolution of the lunar atmosphere.

Keywords

Solar Wind Solar Wind Plasma Meteor Shower Lunar Eclipse Occultation Experiment 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Mendillo
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Astronomy and Center for Space PhysicsBoston UniversityBostonUSA

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