Astronomer spots asteroid smashing into Moon(NDTV NEWS)

Posted: February 24, 2014 in News

A Spanish astronomer on Monday said he had witnessed a fridge-sized asteroid smash into the Moon, in the biggest lunar impact by a space rock ever recorded.

The rare episode was seen by Jose Maria Madiedo, a professor at the University of Huelva, Britain’s Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) said.

On September 11 last year, Madiedo was operating two lunar-observing telescopes when he spotted a flash in the Mare Nubium, an ancient, dark lava-filled basin.

The flare, which occurred at 2007 GMT, was briefly almost as bright as the northern hemisphere’s Pole Star, the RAS said.

It would have been visible to the naked eye to anyone who happened to be looking at the Moon at that moment in good viewing conditions, the RAS said.

There followed a long afterglow, lasting another eight seconds – the longest and brightest ever seen for a lunar impact.

“At that moment, I realised that I had seen a very rare and extraordinary event,” Madiedo told the society.

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