Explosion on the Moon: New crater created by meteoroid crashing into moon.

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moon2Did you happen to be looking at the moon last March 17? If so, you would have seen the brightest impact explosion in at least the last eight years (since NASA began monitoring impacts on the side of the moon we can see), and maybe ever.

NASA has announced the occurrence and recording of the impact event on the moon, one of about 300 that have been added to the logs since the agency began recording such collisions in 2005. This in now counted as being the brightest, by several orders of magnitude.

Robert Suggs, speaking from the Lunar Impact Monitoring Program at Marshall Spaceflight Center, in Huntsville, Alabama, said, “We have seen a couple of others in the ‘wow’ category but not this bright.”

While shining for only one second, the blast was more than bright enough to be seen from the Earth without any telescope or binoculars.

NASA, of course, does not rely on the unaided eyes, but uses 14-inch telescopes to constantly monitor the moon’s visible surface. Once the recorded images from that particular moment on March 17 were analyzed, the meteorite that struck the moon was calculated to be 88 pounds in weight, and nearly one and a half feet in width. The rock was moving at 56,000 miles per hour when it struck the lunar surface. This crash resulted in the equivalent of five tons of TNT being released.moon1

Researchers are now in the process of confirming the impact using records from cameras on spacecraft in close orbit around the moon. “They are planning to image that location in hopes of finding the crater which would be very significant scientifically,” Suggs said.

Simultaneous with the mete0rite crash on the moon, an out of the ordinary number of brightly glowing meteors were recorded in the Earth’s atmosphere. Not part of any previously named meteor shower, NASA believes the Earth and moon together passed through a rain of rocky material that sprinkled both bodies with meteoroids.

Want to see for yourself? Check out this video. To cut out commentary, go to about :55 seconds into the video.

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