NASA Records The Brightest Meteor To Hit The Moon In Close To A Decade

It's hard to forget the record-setting meteor that exploded above Chelyabinsk, Russia in February this year. Looks like the Moon didn't want to be left out of the fun, with NASA recently announcing it suffered its own flashy impact in March — the largest ever recorded by the agency.

As the video above from Space.com explains, the meteor strike occurred on March 17, inside an area known as "Mare Imbrium", a massive crater and one of the largest in the Solar System. In the eight years of observing the Moon — part of the Lunar Impact Monitoring Program run by NASA — it is the brightest impact yet seen.

"Anyone looking at the moon at the moment of impact could have seen the explosion, no telescope required. For about one second the impact site was glowing like a fourth-magnitude star", said Dr Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office, according to The Age.

The meteor itself was around 40kg and 40cm in diameter and hit the Moon at 90,000km/h, leaving a crater estimated at 20m across. The explosive force was equivalent to five tonnes of TNT. True, it doesn't hold much against what Earth recently experienced — the Chelyabinsk object was ~20m in diameter and detonated with the power of 300-500kt, but as far as the Moon is concerned, it was a big 'un.

[The Age]

Video: YouTube / Space.com

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