Spanish astronomers say they have caught the "brightest impact" ever observed on the moon on video. The meteorite hit the lunar surface with the explosive power of 15 tons of TNT, and created a 40-meter wide crater.
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Jose Maria Madiedo, a professor at the University of Huelva, has released the video of the 400-kilo rock hitting the lunar surface. He filmed it on September 11 last year.
According to the Spanish astronomy team's calculations, the meteorite had a diameter between 60 centimeters and 1.40 meters, and hit the moon at around 61,000 kilometres per hour.
Madiedo spotted a flash of light at 8:07 P.M. GMT. The light was briefly as bright as the northern hemisphere's Pole Star.
"With a duration of over 8 seconds, this is the brightest and longest confirmed impact flash ever recorded on the Moon," according to details published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
If anyone had been looking at the moon at the time in good viewing conditions, the flash was so bright that it would have been visible from Earth, according to the astronomers.
The record-breaking flash was observed by two telescopes from the Moon Impacts Detection and Analysis System (MIDAS) in the south of Spain.
The team says that the rock slammed into the moon with the energy equivalent to some 15 tons of TNT, and that it would have left a 40-meter wide lunar crater after impact. This was three times more powerful than a lunar strike spotted by NASA in March last year, when a 40-kilogram rock hit the moon at over 90,000 kilometers per hour, with the explosive power of 5 tons of TNT.