Solar wind reflection from the lunar surface: The view from far and near

L. Saul, P. Wurz, A. Vorburger, D. F. Rodríguez M., S. A. Fuselier, D. J. McComas, E. Möbius, S. Barabash, Herb Funsten, Paul Janzen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The Moon appears bright in the sky as a source of energetic neutral atoms (ENAs). These ENAs have recently been imaged over a broad energy range both from near the lunar surface, by India's Chandrayaan-1 mission (CH-1), and from a much more distant Earth orbit by NASA's Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) satellite. Both sets of observations have indicated that a relatively large fraction of the solar wind is reflected from the Moon as energetic neutral hydrogen. CH-1's angular resolution over different viewing angles of the lunar surface has enabled measurement of the emission as a function of angle. IBEX in contrast views not just a swath but a whole quadrant of the Moon as effectively a single pixel, as it subtends even at the closest approach no more than a few degrees on the sky. Here we use the scattering function measured by CH-1 to model global lunar ENA emission and combine these with IBEX observations. The deduced global reflection is modestly larger (by a factor of 1.25) when the angular scattering function is included. This provides a slightly updated IBEX estimate of AH=0.11±0.06 for the global neutralized albedo, which is ∼25% larger than the previous values of 0.09±0.05, based on an assumed uniform scattering distribution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-4
Number of pages4
JournalPlanetary and Space Science
StatePublished - Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • ENAs
  • IBEX
  • Moon


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