Meteorites strike the moon's surface on a regular basis. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/USGS
A meteorite impact on the lunar surface in September produced the brightest flash ever recorded.
The event was picked up by astronomers in Spain and produced a flash bright enough to be visible from the Earth. The object is believed to have been a meteorite that measured up to 5ft across and weighed more than 400kg.
"Usually lunar impacts have a very short duration - just a fraction of a second," said Prof Jose Madiedo. "But the impact we detected lasted over eight seconds. It was almost as bright as the Pole Star, which makes it the brightest impact event that we have recorded from Earth."
Unlike our own planet which has a protective atmosphere, the moon's surface is completely exposed to impacts from space and has the craters to prove it. Scientists estimate that this latest collision would have produced a crater 40m across.
"That's the estimation we have made according to current impact models," said Prof Madiedo. "We expect that soon NASA could observe the crater and confirm our prediction."
Source: BBC News | Comments (13)
Moon, Flash, Meteorite, Impact