Sure, asteroids and meteorites hit the moon all the time. There’s a reason it’s covered in massive craters. But astronomers have now captured one on tape. Want to see?
The crash was picked up by the Moon Impacts Detection and Analysis System (MIDAS), a telescope system in Seville, Spain, on Sept. 11, 2013. The system is designed to keep an eye on our celestial pal in case some asteroids decide to blast it up.
It looks a bit tiny on the video, though the flash was actually as bright as the North Star at its peak. The crash occurred near the dark area called Mare Nubium, and was so large it was visible by the naked eye from Earth. Not too shabby. The asteroid was probably the size of a large beach ball or small dresser (0.6-1.4 meters across), with mass of about half a ton.
It was also traveling at about 38,000 miles per hour and collided with the moon creating a force of about 15 tons of TNT. Scientists believe the flash remained visible for so long because molten material splashed up into the air. You can check out the crash above, and an explainer clip about the MIDAS program below: