J. Madiedo /MIDAS
Guest post by Christopher Crockett
On September 11, a dishwasher-sized meteoroid slammed into the nearside of the moon, exploding with the equivalent of 16 tons of TNT — and a lucky team of Spanish astronomers caught it on video.
The eight-second flash could be seen with the naked eye, making it the brightest and longest lunar impact ever recorded. While the resulting 50-meter-wide crater is too small to see with Earth-based telescopes, lunar orbiters are close enough to get a good look.
Observations like these, published February 23 in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, help astronomers better understand impact hazards, which means watching the moon may help keep us safe on Earth.