Looking for the Kaguya impact

Kaguya – NASA

Forum regular JJ went hunting for the Japanese lunar explorer Kaguya impact site. Kaguya (or SELENE: SELenological and ENgineering Explorer) was launched 14 September 2007. Once in lunar orbit Kaguya released two smaller satellites into separate elliptical polar orbits: Okina (a relay satellite for communications) and Ouna (a Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) radio source satellite for supporting radio measurements). As well as its 2 sub-satellites Kaguya carried 13 scientific instruments including a lunar Magnetometer,  a Gamma ray spectrometer, a Lunar Radar Sounder and an Earth-looking Upper Atmosphere and Plasma Imager. the mission lasted 18 months after which Kayuya was sent into a series of lunar orbits prior to a controlled impact on 10 June 2009. The impact site was conveniently in darkness at the time allowing the impact flash to be seen from Earth. Okina impacted on the far side on February 12 2009. Ouna is still in orbit.

The Kaguya mission amongst other things has improved lunar global topography maps (also used by Google to make Google Moon 3D), a detailed gravity map of the far side, and the first optical observation of the permanently shadowed interior of south pole Shackleton crater.

The Kaguya impact coordinates are well documented but we couldn’t recall seeing a high resolution view of the impact site from LRO. What JJ was looking for was a small fresh impact which would have exposed some fresh lunar regolith leaving a white scar with a blackened centre where debris may remain.

The Kaguya website gives the impact coordinates as E80.4, S65.5. Here’s the location:


This indicates an impact site on the wall of an unnamed crater near crater Gill. Part of crater Gill is top left of this image provided by ESA:


Using the ACT-REACT Quick Map tool JJ located the unnamed crater.

And found a likely impact site on the rim of a smaller crater within the unnamed crater.

And finally – a potential impact site with a centre geodetic diameter of 23m:

We think it’s definitely a contender.


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About juleswilkinson

Citizen scientist and volunteer. Forum moderator for the Milky Way Project, Solar Stormwatch, Science Gossip and Shakespeare's World. Owner of 3 telescopes, a dog and a meteorite.

One response to “Looking for the Kaguya impact”

  1. Robin Martin says :

    For those interested in sparking your children’s imaginations regarding the moon visit Zooonthemoon.com to see my website for a new Children’s book. Or go to Amazon.com and search Zoo On The Moon Thanks, Robin Martin Duttmann

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