Variation in lunar sodium exosphere measured from lunar orbiter SELENE (Kaguya)

M. Kagitani, M. Taguchi, A. Yamazaki, I. Yoshikawa, G. Murakami, K. Yoshioka, S. Kameda, Shouichi Okano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Resonant scattering of the lunar sodium exosphere was measured from the lunar orbiter SELENE (Kaguya) from December 2008 to June 2009. Variations in line-of-sight integrated intensity measured on the night-side hemisphere of the Moon could be described as a spherical symmetric distribution of the sodium exosphere with a temperature of 24006000 K. Average surface density of sodium atoms in February is well above that in the other months by about 30%. A clear variation in surface density related to the Moon's passage across the Earth's magnetotail could not be seen, although sodium density gradually decreased (by 20±8%) during periods from the first through the last quarter of two lunar cycles. These results suggest that the supra-thermal components of the sodium exosphere are not mainly produced by classical sputtering of solar wind. The variation in sodium density (which depends on lunar-phase angle) is possibly explained by the presence of an inhomogeneous source distribution of photon-stimulated desorption (PSD) on the surface.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1660-1664
Number of pages5
JournalPlanetary and Space Science
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Oct 1


  • Moon
  • Sodium exosphere

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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