Illumination conditions at the lunar south pole

D. Ben J. Bussey, Paul D. Spudis, Mark S. Robinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

131 Scopus citations


Recent remote sensing data strongly suggest that deposits of ice occur in permanently shadowed regions at the lunar poles. Clementine, by providing the first contiguous coverage of the Moon, has enabled the production of an illumination map of the south pole. This map shows the extent of the areas of permanent darkness during winter in this region as well as identifying places on the lunar surface that receive illumination for more than 50% of the lunar day. The permanently dark areas are prime candidates for locations of ice deposits while regions that are illuminated for anomalous periods are possible sites for lunar bases. In this paper we study in detail the illumination history during a lunar day of some of these sites. While we find no area that receives permanent illumination, we do find two areas, only 10 km apart, which collectively receive sunlight for over 98% of the time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1187-1190
Number of pages4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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