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Why did I not know that there was a UV telescope on the MOON!!!

Well, I got to know a couple of days back that there was a Lunar-based Ultraviolet telescope. I finally got to read the paper today (that can be found here) and it's quite interesting. For those of you who remember, the Chinese landed a Lander on the moon and tried sending a rover on the lunar surface (which quickly failed). Apparently, that Lander had a UV telescope on it.

As soon as I read the abstract, the first questions that came to my mind was when exactly they observe. If you think about it, we see the moon at night because it reflects the sun's light meaning that if it's night time for us, it is day time on the moon. The same way, if I were on the moon, I'd be able to see the earth because it will reflect the sun's light. Astronomers on earth prefer moonless nights because the night skies are darker. In the same way, the lunar based telescope had to take into account the fact that earth shines bright at night time when designing their telescope and planning their observation strategies.

Let's move on to the main theme of the paper, the fact that the photometric performance of the telescope is highly stable (quantified by looking at the variance in the photometric zero point). Back on earth, a couple of years of observation will damage the telescope/camera setup and it will have to be repaired. The CCD response of instruments is measured regularly to quantify the damage regularly, in order to correct for it later on in the analysis pipeline. Interestingly, because of the negligible lunar atmosphere and their pre-planned observation strategies, the CCD didn't incur a lot of damage over the course of 18 months of operation.

If you are interested, there are four other papers that were published by the same team earlier regarding the operation of the telescope and it's data analysis ([1], [2], [3] & [4]). I'll stop here for now, I am wondering whether or not I should download one of those papers to dig into things further. The prospect of having a permanent telescope on the moon is quite interesting, especially for earth observations.

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