METEORS: Record-Breaking Meteorite Crash on Moon Sparks Brightest Lunar Explosion Ever

NOTE from Rich:  Meteors strike the earth 1000’s of times a day, and can be sized anywhere from a grain of sand to a monster 10,000 ton 65 foot wide rock that entered the atmosphere over Russia last year. When a meteor strikes the ground, it then becomes a meteorite, and the planet is covered by old, and older craters. The most famous is the Arizona Barrington meteor crater, which was created millions of years ago, and is over a mile wide. The technology to see strikes on other planets continues to increase, and we see our nearest neighbor get hit regularly in real time, with occasional videos such as this one. Just pause to think about these kinds of threats, that can ruin our day in a heartbeat, without any warning…just as the Russian strike happened.

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  • By: Megan Gannon
  • Posted on: February 24, 2014

The high-speed impact of a wayward space rock on the surface of the moon last year triggered the brightest lunar explosion ever seen, scientists say.

Video footage of the record-breaking meteorite strike on the moon, which occurred on Sept. 11, 2013 and was unveiled today (Feb. 24), shows a long flash that was almost as bright as the North Star Polaris. That means the boulder-sized meteorite’s lunar crash could have been visible to anyone on Earth who happened to be staring up at the moon at 8:07 p.m. GMT, weather permitting.

“At that moment I realized that I had seen a very rare and extraordinary event,” Jose Madiedo, a professor at the University of Huelva, said in a statement. Madiedo witnessed the collision using two moon-watching telescopes in the south of Spain that are part of the Moon Impacts Detection and Analysis System, or MIDAS observatory.

The space rock hit at a staggering speed of 37,900 mph (61,000 km/h), gouging out a new crater roughly 131 feet (40 meters) wide in an ancient lava-filled lunar basin known as Mare Nubium, Madiedo and colleagues said. The scientists think the boulder behind the crash was about 880 lbs. (400 kg) and measured between 2 and 4.5 feet (0.6 and 1.4 meters) in diameter.

If a space rock this size hit the Earth, it might create some spectacular fireball meteors, but it likely would not pose a threat to people on the ground, researchers explained. But the moon lacks an atmosphere like the one enshrouding our planet, making it quite vulnerable to incoming asteroids.

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Updated: February 24, 2014 — 3:44 pm

The Author

Rich Fleetwood

Rich is the founder of SurvivalRing, now in it's 24th year, author of multimedia CDs and DVDs, loves the outdoors, his family, his geeky skill-set, and lives in rural southern Wyoming, just below the continental divide (long story, that...). Always ready to help others, he shares what he learns on multiple blogs, many social sites, and more. With a background in preparedness and survival skills, training with county, state, and national organizations, and skills in all areas of media and on air experience in live radio and television, Rich is always thinking about the "big picture", when it comes to helping individuals and families prepare for life's little surprises.

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