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The Meteoroid Environment Office (MEO) observes the moon for meteoroid impact flashes about 10 nights per month, when the solar illumination is between 10 and 55 percent. Two telescopes fitted with astronomical video cameras at the Automated and Lunar and Meteor Observatory at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama are used to detect the flashes on the un-illuminated portion of the moon. The use of the second telescope rules out cosmic rays and noise; a third telescope in North Georgia helps the MEO discriminate against sun glints from orbiting debris.

impact flash detection

Impact flash detection can be performed with affordable observational equipment – in that way, it is a good project for schools and amateur astronomers to undertake if there is an interest.  If you are interested in observing the moon for impact flashes, see the “Frequently Asked Questions” and “Minimum System Requirements” documents at http://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/news/lunar/index.html.