The European Space Agency, together with the Greek NELIOTA, has begun to identify light flashes that are created every time an alien space object hits the lunar surface. This is the first system capable of determining the temperature indicator of flares.
These studies are important because the Earth and its satellite are constantly under attack by space debris. Most are represented by dust particles, but there are also large objects. Suffice to recall the Chelyabinsk meteorite in February 2013. This piece reached a diameter of 20 m.
Every hour the Earth receives a lot of spatial dust. But about how many meter objects fall on the planet, it is not exactly known. They are not big enough to get into the eyes of an astronomer or an eyewitness.
But there is a way to identify this amount - to follow the Moon, namely, a dark area that is isolated from sunlight. During the fall on the lunar surface, the asteroids are burned, creating a short-term light flash, which we can track. Brightness allows you to calculate speed, mass, and even size.
Since March 2017, NELIOTA has been tracking the dark side of the moon, looking for light flashes caused by tiny fragments of rocks falling to the surface.
The NELIOTA project (lunar strikes and optical objects off the Earth) was launched on March 8, 2017. It uses a refurbished telescope operated by the Athens National Observatory.
The telescope breaks the incoming light rays into two colors and uses digital cameras to record data (30 frames per second). Observations are carried out each time the satellite is located under the horizon and is in the dark (between the phases of the new moon and the first quarter or between the last quarter and the new moon).
The program works automatically. Take into account the performance of the two cameras, so interference and failures can be easily eliminated. They function in different color ranges, evaluating the flash point.
Only at the time of testing, 4 flashes were detected during 11 hours of observation. Now they plan to spy for 22 months.
We will also be able to understand the physical issue of these outbreaks. The device is able to identify the mass, as well as the dimensions of the object and the crater created.