University of Oulu

Yang, K., Schmidt, J., Feng, W., & Liu, X. (2022). Distribution of dust ejected from the lunar surface into the Earth-Moon system. Astronomy & Astrophysics, 659, A120.

Distribution of dust ejected from the lunar surface into the Earth-Moon system

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Author: Yang, Kun1; Schmidt, Jürgen2,3; Feng, Weiming1;
Organizations: 1Department of Engineering Mechanics, Shandong University, 250061 Jinan, PR China
2Institute of Geological Sciences, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany
3Space Physics and Astronomy Research Unit, University of Oulu, 90014 Oulu, Finland
4School of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Sun Yat-sen University, Shenzhen Campus, 518107 Shenzhen, PR China
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: EDP Sciences, 2022
Publish Date: 2023-03-08


Aims: An asymmetric dust cloud was detected around the Moon by the Lunar Dust Experiment on board the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer mission. We investigate the dynamics of the grains that escape the Moon and their configuration in the Earth-Moon system.

Methods: We use a plausible initial ejecta distribution and mass production rate for the ejected dust. Various forces, including the solar radiation pressure and the gravity of the Moon, Earth, and Sun, are considered in the dynamical model, and direct numerical integrations of trajectories of dust particles are performed. The final states, the average life spans, and the fraction of retrograde grains as functions of particle size are computed. The number density distribution in the Earth-Moon system is obtained through long-term simulations.

Results: The average life spans depend on the size of dust particles and show a rapid increase in the size range between 1 and 10 μm. About 3.6 × 10−3 kg s−1 (~2%) particles ejected from the lunar surface escape the gravity of the Moon, and they form an asymmetric torus between the Earth and the Moon in the range [10 RE, 50 RE], which is offset toward the direction of the Sun. A considerable number of retrograde particles occur in the Earth-Moon system.

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Series: Astronomy and astrophysics
ISSN: 0004-6361
ISSN-E: 1432-0746
ISSN-L: 0004-6361
Volume: 659
Article number: A120
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/202140810
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 115 Astronomy and space science
Funding: This work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 12002397) and by the China Scholarship Council (CSC, 201906220134).
Copyright information: © ESO 2022