Moon struck by an asteroid travelling at 61,000 km an hour

The collision created a 10-15 meter crater.

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Astronomers have observed that the Moon was struck by an asteroid that was traveling at a speed of 61,000 km an hour. The collision happened during the total lunar eclipse created a 10-15 meter crater. 

Moon struck by an asteroid travelling at 61,000 km an hour

 

Unlike our planet, the moon doesn't have an atmosphere which means even small rocks can hit its surface. Since these collisions happen at high speed, the rocks get vaporized at the impact and produce an expanding plume of debris and the glow can be seen from Earth as short-duration flashes.

Observers watching the total eclipse saw such flashes, according to a study published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. Astronomers also said that the flashes were bright enough to be seen with the naked eye.

The Moon Impacts Detection and Analysis System (MIDAS) also recorded the moment of impact. Spanish astronomers Jose Maria Madiedo and Jose L. Ortiz operate the MIDAS. Both concluded that the asteroid had a mass of around 45kg and was hurtling towards the moon at 61,000kmph.

"It would be impossible to reproduce these high-speed collisions in a lab on Earth. Observing flashes is a great way to test our ideas on exactly what happens when a meteorite collides with the Moon," Madiedo said.

Besides, NASA has also confirmed that an asteroid around 1,100-foot-wide and will shoot sky like a "moving star-like point of light," getting faster and brighter on Friday, April 13, 2029. Smaller asteroids from 10-20 meters have been spotted skimming Earth at similar distances, however, a space rock as big as Apophis is a rare occurrence.

Read More About: space science news

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