‘Biggest observed meteorite impact’ hits Moon

Moon
The impact appeared as a bright white flash on 11 September 2013
Scientists say they have observed a record-breaking impact on the Moon.

Spanish astronomers spotted a meteorite with a mass of about half a tonne crashing into the lunar surface last September.

They say the collision would have generated a flash of light so bright that it would have been visible from Earth.

The event is reported in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

“This is the largest, brightest impact we have ever observed on the Moon,” said Prof Jose Madiedo, of the University of Huelva in south-western Spain.

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The impact we detected lasted over eight seconds”

Prof Jose MadiedoUniversity of Huelva

The explosive strike was spotted by the Moon Impacts Detection and Analysis System (Midas) of telescopes in southern Spain on 11 September at 20:07 GMT.

“Usually lunar impacts have a very short duration – just a fraction of a second. 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,” said Prof Madiedo.

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