Tags: meteorite | hits | moon

Meteorite Hits Moon, Creating Large Crater, Bright Flash

Wednesday, 26 Feb 2014 05:59 PM

By Jonna Lorenz

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A 900-pound meteorite that hit the moon in September is the largest recorded impact and would have been visible from Earth, scientists say.

Astronomers at the University of Huelva in Spain recorded the Sept. 11 collision and reported the event on Feb. 23 in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, where it is described as “the longest and brightest confirmed impact flash recorded on the Moon thus far.”

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Story continues below video.

A longer video with a description of the event also has been posted.

The Moon Impacts Detection and Analysis System regularly watches for lunar impacts. A flash usually lasts a fraction of a second, but this one lasted longer than eight seconds, Jose Madiedo of the University of Huelva said, according to the BBC.

Scientists say the meteorite that probably was 2 to 4.6 feet wide, traveling faster than 37,900 miles per hour, hit with a force of about 15 tons of TNT and created a 130-foot-wide crater, according to a Reuters report.

The Earth’s atmosphere protects it from such blows, with most meteors burning up upon entering the atmosphere.

The Spanish scientists say that, according to their observations, objects in the range of 3.3 feet in size hit Earth's atmosphere about 10 times more often than previously thought.

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