For thousands of years, astronomers have been interested in and baffled by the moon and because of this, which of course culminated on the moon landing. This move helped researchers and astronomers make observations from afar and even if there have been many notable moon-related discoveries that were revealed since humanity reached the moon in 1969, there is still one phenomenon that has confused researchers and astronomers for decades. This is the strange flashes of light that are coming from the Moon’s surface.
The Mysterious Flashes of Light and Our Observations
These mysterious and strange flashes of light are known as “transient lunar phenomena” and it occurs randomly and sometimes several times a week. It often lasts for a few minutes but some of them last for hours. Over the years, there have been a lot of theories and explanations as to what causes these strange lights. From moonquakes to meteors, and even UFOs, but unfortunately, none of them have ever been proven.
A professor of space and technology at the Julius-Maximilians Universitat in Germany named Hakan Kayal is interested and curious about these strange lights. He said that these transient lunar phenomena have been known since the 1950s but nothing has been adequately and thoroughly observed in the long-term. As we mentioned earlier, these flashes of lights only last for a fraction of second which makes them hard to detect. That’s why Professor Hakan Kayal has set up a team to take on the challenge of getting to the bottom of these mysterious lights and finally explain what is going on. He set up a lunar telescope with two cameras to keep an eye on the moon every night. Kayal said that this telescope is located in a private observatory in Spain, about 62 miles north of Seville. He stated that the location has better weather conditions for moon observation compared to Germany. The telescope is remotely controlled from the Julius-Maximilians Universitat campus and was put into service in April 2019. Professor Kayal said that the remote-controlled telescope’s observations will be compared with the ones that the European Space Agency has.
The telescope works when both cameras capture a luminous phenomenon the same time does the telescope trigger further actions. It also saves photos and video sequences from the strange flashes of lights and it sends a message to Professor Kayal and his team through email. Kayal said that they plan to tweak the set up of the telescope and use an artificial intelligence method. They will apply neural networks which will allow the system of the telescope how to distinguish a lunar flash of technical interference from different objects such as planes and birds which often fly in front of the cameras.
Race to the Moon
Once the project is completed, the system will later be used on a satellite mission. Kayal said that there is great interest in knowing what exactly are these strange flashes of light because of a new race to the moon.
China announced that they launched a comprehensive lunar program and that they have dropped off a probe on the far side of the moon in January 2019. India said that they are planning the same mission.
Amazon tycoon Jeff Bezos said that he is going to send a spaceship to the moon in May 2019. He said that his space company called the Blue Origin will land a robotic ship the size of a small house which is capable of carrying four rovers. On the other hand, Elon Musk’s company, SpaceX, announced that they have plans to send a Japanese business around the moon in 2023.