CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

May 23, 2008

FLASHY MOON EXPLOSIONS

—written by Monte W. Holland and Carolyn C. Holland

My husband responded to a recent USA Today news article titled “That’s flashy: 100 explosions recorded on the Moon,” written by Tony Phillips,  [5/21/08]

“In 1959,” my husband began, “I was required to do a research project in my senior year at Union College (Schenectady, New York) where I majored in physics. My partner was Chuck Bruce, another physics major and an electronics person who had been into ham radio.

“We signed up to work with Professor Curtis Hemenway, in Albany, New York, at Dudley Observatory—which is owned by Union College. Professor Hemenway lived over in a residence attached to the observatory, which he maintained. The observatory also had a bedroom where researchers could sleep when not actively using the observatory.
 
“The professor’s idea was for us to look for meteors hitting the dark side of the moon. He believed these could be seen if we looked for flashes of infrared light.”

Not so long ago, anyone claiming to see flashes of light on the Moon would be viewed with deep suspicion by professional astronomers. Such reports were filed under “L” … for lunatic. (more…)

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