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Observing the LCROSS Impacts
 
Moon phase during lcross impactsCredit: NASA Ames Research Center
The image above shows the phase of the moon, as seen from the Earth, on impact night.

Thank you for your interest in the LCROSS mission and the lunar impacts scheduled for 4:30 a.m. PDT on October 9, 2009. The LCROSS team is working with science centers and planetariums across the country to help plan impact events where members of the public will have one of the best opportunities to view the LCROSS impacts. Stay tuned for a list of participating facilities or call your local science center or planetarium and inquire if they are planning an LCROSS impact event. The impacts also will be broadcast on NASA TV and http://www.nasa.gov.

NOTE: Viewing the impacts for the casual observer will be very complicated. Information about the impacts is based on the input of top lunar and impact scientists and evaluations of hundreds of physical and computer simulations. The LCROSS science team is continually evaluating what might be visible at impact and will update this page when new information. Amateur astronomers are encouraged to join the LCROSS observation campaign.

The final target crater, Cabeus A, was announced on Sept. 11, 2009. Read more about the target crater.

Latest Impact Information (Subject to Change)

Impact Timing: The LCROSS impacts are scheduled for 4:30 a.m. PDT or 7:30 a.m. EDT (11:30 UTC) on October 9, 2009. Mission scientists estimate that the Centaur impact debris plume should be in view several seconds after Centaur impact and will peak in brightness at 30 to 100 seconds after impact.

Time Zone Lighting Conditions for Viewing
Eastern Daybreak will prevent viewing of the LCROSS impact debris plumes
Central Best viewing is West of the Mississippi River. East of the Mississippi River will be experiencing pre-dawn lighting conditions that may prevent viewing of the LCROSS impacts
Mountain Excellent lighting conditions for viewing the LCROSS impacts
Pacific Excellent lighting conditions for viewing the LCROSS impacts
Alaska Excellent lighting conditions for viewing the LCROSS impacts
Hawaii Excellent lighting conditions for viewing the LCROSS impacts


Minimum Equipment Requirements: Mission scientists estimate that the Centaur impact will be visible using a telescope with a diameter of 10-12 inches or larger. Telescopes with smaller diameters or lesser capability may not be powerful enough to see the LCROSS impacts. Mission scienctists don't expect the impacts will be visible with the naked eye or binoculars.

Illustration of EarthCredit: NASA/Ames Research Center
The image above shows the terrestrial landmasses that will be facing the moon at the projected time of impact.

Illustration of EarthCredit: NASA/Ames Research Center
The image above shows the morning terminator, indicating what areas of the Earth will be facing the moon and which areas will be in daylight and in darkness. Global map of observatories.Map of planned professional observatories participating in the LCROSS Observation Campaign.
Click on the image for full resolution.


 
 
Jonas Dino
Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.