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Proceedings Paper

Active Astronomy - Tracking The Moon By Laser
Author(s): Carroll Alley
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Paper Abstract

Over the last five years NASA has supported ranging on the lunar surface with a ruby laser. l'2 The laser was constructed by the KORAD Corporation and is installed at the McDonald Observatory in Texas. The laser emits a 20 joule 30 nanosecond pulse. Of the returning signal, collected by the McDonald telescope, approximately on: photoelectron is produced. The photomultiplier on the telescope is range gated to reduce the background. Signal averaging techniques are used. With this whole system one can measure distance from McDonald Observatory to the moon to an accuracy of A,10 centimeters. Experiments are aimed at determining more precisely the orbit of the moon. Better knowledge of the orbit of the moon can be used to determine more accurately the shape of the earth. Future experi-ments were described in which laser ranging would be done simul-taneously from different points on the earth, i. e. , different stations. These measurements would afford a means of predicting continental drifts and early prediction of earthquakes. Ideally, it would be better to have a more intense laser and a laser which emitted in the green where photomultipliers are more sensitive. Funding for these necessary improvements have not been forthcoming.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 March 1974
PDF: 2 pages
Proc. SPIE 0041, Developments in Laser Technology II, (1 March 1974); doi: 10.1117/12.953828
Show Author Affiliations
Carroll Alley, University of Maryland (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 0041:
Developments in Laser Technology II
Ralph F. Wuerker, Editor(s)

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