Lunar Exospheric Sodium and Potassium Emissions

Photo of intern Jesus Hinojosa. Credit: URCStudent: Jesus Hinojosa
University of Texas at Brownsville

Major: Physics

Degree Level: Bachelor of Science

Internship Site: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

Mentor: Dr. Ronald Oliversen

Abstract: At the beginning of my internship, I operated the McMath-Pierce Solar Telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory. There we observed the moon and received high-resolution spectral data of lunar exospheric sodium emissions for four nights. The overall data measured sodium emission from the lunar limb out to two lunar radii from the limb for lunar latitudes from the equator to the pole over lunar phases from the first to third quarter. Here at GSFC I have started gaining experience in CCD data reductions, line profile fitting, and IDL software programming. The expected outcome of my internship is to advance the understanding of the interaction between the solar wind and lunar surface via line profile measurements, yielding exospheric sodium atom temperatures and velocities.

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