Additions: Hubble Supports Water Discovery

Note: I wrote this on my earlier blog hosted as http://parallelspirals.blogspot.com. I recovered the text from the WayBack Machine. This post appeared on February 15, 2011 as per the time stamp. I’m trying to collect here again all my old writings spread on various blogs.

I wrote quite hurriedly about the Hubble Space Telescope providing support to the Chandrayaan-1 discovery of water in the lunar exosphere. I had provided the links to the story to Srinivas and he’s written about in the Times of India [Bangalore, Delhi]. I got a bit worried last night when I saw that the abstract published was presented in the poster session of the meeting of the American Astronomical Society.

With a bit of help from Syed Maqbool Ahmed, PI, CHACE (which made the discovery of water in the lunar exosphere) and Daniel Fischer, I was able to ascertain a few things and I am posting them here for the benefit of everyone concerned.

Daniel informed me that posters are considered “publications” but that a paper in a refereed journal would have greater impact and would be cited more often. It was Syed who finally explained the whole concept to me. The paper in which the result would be published as a paper is expected to happen next month. It is expected to be published in the Astrophysical Journal. One of the persons who presented the poster, Alex Storrs is a co-investigator on the Hubble Space Telescope. Syed explained to me that since they were waiting for the paper to be officially published, they presented it as a poster in the meanwhile.

Trying to find out information about the authors of this poster also took me to a 2009 story in PhysOrg, where Storrs is quoted as saying that initial results did not point any clear evidence for water in the lunar exosphere. It is very interesting that almost a little more than a year later, the same person has confirmed CHACE’s results of water in the lunar exosphere.

Hubble Space Telescope confirms water in lunar atmosphere finding

Note: I wrote this on my earlier blog hosted as http://parallelspirals.blogspot.com. 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]