This transient phenomenon, rarely observed, remains a mystery to astronomers.
The initials TLP correspond to the initials according to the English translation of “Transient Lunar Phenomena”, or what is the same, Transient Lunar Phenomena.
In reality, it is a phenomenon of mysterious lights that are not observed continuously, but rather from very late to late and at very specific moments of lunar exploration. The latest research in this regard still does not shed light.
It is true that the writer has always been somewhat skeptical in this regard, especially when the word mystery is used. TLPs can be seen (I repeat that it is very difficult to see a TLP; I have never seen one to date) inside some craters or on the tops of lunar mountain ranges.
In some cases they appear as moving clouds or shadows with a very short life span.
Some observers of the Moon and until the first half of the 20th century, believed that these shadows were groups of animals that walked or ran on the surface of the Moon in search of food.
The idea was not as far-fetched as it seems, because if we were on the Moon and observed certain regions of the Earth where animals congregated massively, we would see shadows of various sizes move over the Earth and for all tastes, especially if these animals were concentrated in desert areas, as was the case with bison in the United States before the arrival of the first European settlers, when they numbered in the millions.
What is certain is that whatever they are, TLPs must exist. Great figures in the field of astronomy have left a written record of them and we cannot deny their existence.
Let’s do some history:
1778. From Spain, the astronomer Antonio de Ulloa, while contemplating the eclipse of the Sun on June 24, reports a crack or opening in the lunar surface, which ends with the result of a bright spot when the Sun’s rays pass about him.
1783. The very famous English astronomer, discoverer of the planet Uranus, William Herschel, observes on August 18:
“I perceive three volcanoes in different places on the Moon. Two are already almost extinct or about to disappear, which can be said in the next lunation…
The third shows an active eruption of fire or luminous matter…” What did Herschel actually observe? Was it perhaps high peaks that were illuminated by sunlight or perhaps active volcanoes?
What we know today is that the Moon is a completely dead world and is one of the most inactive in the Solar System. There are moons in Saturn and Jupiter with unusual activity, from which large geysers of water vapor emanate as in Enceladus, Saturn’s moon, or the extremely powerful nitrogen geysers of the satellite Triton, of the planet Neptune and volcanic eruptions that change the color and the aspect of the satellite, in this case Jupiter’s satellite Io.
But our Moon is a world without activity. We have all seen the Moon the same way throughout our lives and it remains so after billions of years.
An astronomer of Herschel’s caliber should clearly distinguish the luminous points of the highest peaks that are still in the shadows, but what about the information from the volcanoes? Lots of imagination, we may think, but who among us was there to take stock?…
1788. JH Schroeter, astronomer that he was, dedicated himself from his observatory in Lilienthal and using Herschel telescopes at the maximum power of 300 magnification to draw maps of the Moon between the years 1791 and 1802.
He devoted himself tirelessly to the search for phenomena that altered the lunar surface, such as the appearance of new craters or lunar lights. On September 26, 1788, he recounts that he was observing the area of the mountain range of the Alps and found a light similar to a star near the Plato crater. He goes on to say that he remained glowing for 15 minutes, then disappeared.
1824. The astronomer Gruithuisen observes lights that go on and off.
1866. The astronomer Tempel reports the existence of a luminous point in the Aristarco circus.
1867. This is perhaps the most spectacular vision of TLP. On May 13 in the Plato crater, lights grouped between four and twenty-one are observed. These lights were observed by numerous astronomers. Some of them indicate that while several points of light became brighter, the others lost intensity. There were those who came to think that the lights were being managed by intelligent beings. Between the years 1867 and 1870, the TLP count rose to several thousand.
1877. During this year more lights continued to appear on the Moon, of which astronomers from professional observatories gave a good account, such as the British C. Barrett, who described a point of light in the Proclus crater.
The most named craters with TLP this year were Bessel and Plato, the latter being the one with the most TLP records to its credit since the existence of TLPs became known. Also in this year a lot of literature is wasted on him and his BPD. The existence of a bright triangle inside it and moving lights that were visible towards the crater from various points were reported.
1931. On February 22, Abbe Joulia tells us that near the Aristarchus crater, a dim and diffuse light came on and at the same time became less luminous, progressively and slowly.
1937. M.Abdreuko in Antwerp informs us of the existence of a small luminous zone in the Cassini circus. This same gentleman in the Aristarchus crater, locates a kind of radiation of coloration between blue and greenish.
1944. HP Wilkins (mechanical engineer and selenographer), who dedicated himself to making maps of the Moon, claims to see a bright point of light in Plato crater.
1950. HP Wilkins, says he sees another flash of light of great intensity in the area of the Aristarchus and Herodotus craters. The contemplation of him is done through a powerful 370 mm telescope.
1958. The Russian astronomer Niteolai Kozyrev contemplates a bright cloud hovering over the central peak of the Alphonsus crater from which he takes spectrum. It was thought that the peak could have erupted, considering the idea that it was a volcano. Again on December 3, he was again delighted with the visualization of another cloud not far from the position of the previous one, which was present and in motion for an hour.
1963. From the Lowell observatory, we are informed of the appearance of a very bright and red glow on the Moon, which the astronomer John Grenace could well observe.
1966. Several observers, among them the well-known Patrick Moore (a very important popularizer of British astronomy), describe the emergence of reddish glows in the Gassendi circus, on April 30.
As of the last reported date, TLP observations are decreasing by astronomers or at least not being reported as frequently. However, the phenomenon has not disappeared, and there are those who dedicate themselves body and soul to hunting and capturing TLPs.
In Spain, for example, there are networks of lunar observers and within this field, there are sections dedicated exclusively to monitoring possible irregularities on the surface of the Moon. It seems that our friend the Moon knows herself a little better and we do not get carried away so often by mysterious phenomena capable of causing them by possible Selenites (inhabitants of the Moon).
On the other hand, since the second half of the 20th century, numerous probes have meticulously studied the surface of our satellite and in 1969 the first man set foot on the Moon. He does not mean that it is known as our planet, and there will always be doubt about those lights. But let’s dig a little deeper and see what BPDs can be.
Speaking in an easy way and as we mentioned previously, the points of light that are located in the shadows may well be caused by the illumination of the highest mountain peaks where dawn begins and as long as they are close to the terminator (line that divides night from day on the Moon).
If the distance to the terminator and within the shadow is considerable, doubts can always assail us, since at this distance from the terminator, the Sun could hardly illuminate the tops of the highest mountains, since they should have a disproportionate height and this does not It happens with the lunar mountains. That is, when the unilluminated part of the Moon produces a TLP, it is worthy of investigation.
In any case, it is difficult to explain, as some famous observers say, that the points of light become intermittent. Perhaps it could happen that we are completely wrong and the Moon is not as dead a place as we think.
There may be minimal internal activity that from time to time puts its contribution to create internal pressure and releases gas and small amounts of lava to the outside and through volcanoes, such as the Alphonsus crater peak and the famous Plato circus, which is actually a large walled plain.
There is no peak there, but a smooth floor. Are there volcanoes so tiny that we cannot see them and they arise when there is activity and disappear when it ceases? The truth is that Plato is a point of view due to its high number of TLPs.
Let’s imagine for a moment that jets of gases escape from the interior of the Moon, as if they were geysers. These gases could come from cracks in the surface caused by the tensions of the Earth’s gravity or by the difference in temperature that exists. between day and night I was able to exceed 300 degrees and fragment large rocks or even the lunar soil.
When this gas tries to go outside, it must run into the layer of dust (regolith) that is covering the entire lunar surface and, consequently, will raise it to different heights so that it will be exposed to radiation from the Sun and thus become luminous.
Several jets of gas that were more or less aligned and not far apart would give the impression of intermittence and movement (when one goes down and goes out another comes out of the ground with more force and shines).
According to Wiltkins, TLPs could be the mere reflection of the Sun’s rays when incident on certain materials with a higher degree of reflectivity and high albedo. There is also the possibility that fluorescence effects arise from bombardment of solar electrons.
Another possibility is the fall of meteors on the lunar surface. Essentially when the Earth passes through the remains of a comet and a meteor shower occurs, as is the case with the Leonids, there is evidence of these meteors falling on the Moon, leaving sparkles on the dark surface of the Moon, but not They are no longer flashes that last a few seconds, they have nothing to do with TLPs that last hours while being visible or moving from one place to another.
This type of phenomenon has generated rivers of ink about the presence of life on the Moon and about extraterrestrial bases and other constructions throughout the selenite geography. The reality is that there is only data that the phenomenon exists but no evidence that it is something beyond pure physical phenomena that will one day have an explanation.
Even so, they leave the door open to the imagination of many and who knows if one day these theories will have to be proven right when their real origin is discovered. I just want to warn observers: if looking through the telescope you discover lights on the Moon, which turn on and off, they are surely the product of karaoke reflections, with laser effects and mirrored balls, which I have mounted on the base to to pass in the best possible way the isolation that is suffered in this modest lunar module.
Doubt in any case invades us before the long series of conjectures with which we play. For now the mystery is still there.