High-Spectral Resolution, Ground-Based Observations of the Lunar Sodium and Potassium Exosphere During the LADEE Mission.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Dona Chathuni Piumika Kuruppuaratchi1, Ronald J Oliversen2, Edwin J Mierkiewicz1, Nicholas J Derr3, Chad W Freer1, Margaret A Gallant1, Derek D Gardner3, Olivia L Lupie2, Lori C Spalsbury4 and Maurice L Wilson1, (1)Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, FL, United States, (2)NASA Goddard SFC, Greenbelt, MD, United States, (3)University of Wisconsin Madison, Madison, WI, United States, (4)ADNET Systems Inc. Greenbelt, Greenbelt, MD, United States
We apply high resolution spectroscopy to investigate the lunar exosphere by measuring sodium and potassium spectral line profiles to determine the variations in exospheric effective temperatures and velocities. Observations were made at the National Solar Observatory McMath-Pierce Telescope concurrent with the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) science phase. We used a dual-etalon Fabry-Perot spectrometer with a resolving power of 200,000 to measure the line widths and radial velocity Doppler shifts of the sodium D2 (5889.951 Å) and potassium D1 (7698.965 Å) emission lines. Data were taken during the full moon periods from November 2013 through May 2014 with the exception of March 2014. The instrument’s Field of View (FOV) of 3 arcmin (~360 km) was positioned at several locations, centered at 1.5 arcmin, off the East and West limbs. The deconvolved line widths indicate sodium temperatures pre- and post- magnetotail passage are on the order of 1600 K while temperatures during passage through the magnetotail are on the order of a several thousand Kelvin. Unlike sodium, the potassium deconvolved line widths indicate pre-magnetotail passage several hundred degrees hotter than the post-magnetotail passage temperatures. Additionally, both sodium and potassium intensities were brighter after magnetotail passage than before. This work was partially supported by the NASA Planetary Astronomy programs, NNX11AE38G and NNX13AL30G.