Massive Moon Meteor Explosion Was Visible to Naked Eye

Massive Moon Meteor Explosion Was Visible to Naked Eye

If you happened to be looking up at the moon on March 17, you may have been able to observe the brightest lunar impact ever recorded.

On the night of March 17, if you were looking at the moon at just the right moment, you may have noticed a bright flash of light. NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office has revealed that that flash was the result of a boulder-sized meteor slamming into the moon. This meteor impact has been the brightest impact seen on the moon in the eight year history of the monitoring program.

"We have seen a couple of others in the 'wow' category but not this bright," said manager of NASA's Lunar Impact Monitoring Program Robert Suggs. Suggs works at the Marshall Spaceflight Center in Huntsville in Alabama, and says that of the 300 or so lunar impact events that have been logged over the years, the impact on March 17 was by far the brightest.

Suggs first noticed the impact on one of The NASA monitoring program's 14-inch telescopes. For about one second, the blast shone as bright as a 4th magnitude star. "It was so bright!" he recalled. Researchers estimate that the meteor was about 40 kg and 0.4 meters wide. It crashed into the moon at speeds of 56,000 miles per hour, releasing as much energy as five tons of TNT. They believe the resulting crater will be about 20 meters wide.

Bill Cook, another researcher for the program, believes that the lunar impact may have been part of a much larger event. On the same night as the lunar explosion, Cook says that a large number of deep-penetrating meteors were detected hitting the Earth's surface. He is working on a hypothesis that the Earth-moon system plowed through a stream of material that pelted both worlds with meteoroids.

The purpose of the program is to monitor new forms of space debris to see if they pose any kind of threat to Earth. NASA scientists believe that this recent lunar impact is a prime candidate of that goal.

The program's data could also help prepare for potential long-term manned missions to the moon.

Source: Science at NASA

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I couldn't help but chuckle at the artists impression of the impact.

And I know it is a logical thing to happen but for some reason I hadn't really thought about stuff flying in to the Moon, certainly not with the frequency that they apparently do. I guess that is one reason we aren't taking our Moon-dogs on Moon-walks after Moon-lunch yet. Although it looks like the poles are hit less frequently, so if we had to migrate to the Moon at least Santa will be safe.

My heart goes out to those brave whalers...

Luna must be real glad she sold her timeshare.

Caffeine_Bombed:
My heart goes out to those brave whalers...

Thar she blows!

I just lol'd so hard at the University of Western's "space camera" which looks like a garbage bin on a bench in a forest clearing.

I live in Southern Ontario and know people who went there so it just really tickled my funny bone.

Caffeine_Bombed:
My heart goes out to those brave whalers...

They were whalers on the moon.
They carried their harpoons.
But there ain't no whales, so they told tall tales, and sang their whaling tune.

R.I.P.

Anyway... I really hate when I miss really cool stuff like this. Although, by the looks of that video I probably wouldn't have noticed it anyway, it was such a small spot.

Cool explosion, but the artists impression seemed a bit redundant. Also, is that a synthetic voice narrating the clip? It sounds artificial, but it's more advanced than the usual monotone ones. Still, the rigid delivery and forced inflection is thoroughly creepifying.

Was the female announcer a robot or was she just that unimpressed with what she was presented?

I'm surprised i didn't see that last night since i was working outside and all.

Quick! Someone call Bruce Willis and Aerosmith!!! We're gonna need two spaceships - one to crash, one to keep - and a bitchin' theme song!

That explains why I saw a red light in the sky that night. I thought it looked like a red lighting in the sky. Then again there was a F4 tornado that came by recently that made me think it was lighting rather then anything else.

Darks63:
Was the female announcer a robot or was she just that unimpressed with what she was presented?

I'm surprised i didn't see that last night since i was working outside and all.

The impact happened on March 17th, according to the article.

Whether the presenter was a robot or an actual person, she certainly sounded more robotic than GLaDOS.

Would a moon base be able to detect such a meteroid before it impacts, or would such a base just have to hope for the best?

E-Penguin:

Darks63:
Was the female announcer a robot or was she just that unimpressed with what she was presented?

I'm surprised i didn't see that last night since i was working outside and all.

The impact happened on March 17th, according to the article.

Bah reading comprehension failure on my part but coincidentally i was working that night as well.

I seem to remember them crashing a Centaur (upper stage of the Atlas V) into the moon as part of the LCROSS mission. I wonder how that compared to this impact. I've seen a Centaur in person, and they're about the size of a city bus...although it wouldn't be traveling as fast as this meteor.

Only 40 kilograms, 5 ton of TNT! Wow.

 

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