Scientists in Spain say they have observed a record-breaking impact on the Moon. They spotted a meteorite with about the mass of half a tonne crashing into the lunar surface last September. The collision, they say, would have generated a flash of light so bright that it would have been easily visible from Earth. The findings of the Spanish scientists were reported in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society,
Most commonly, lunar impacts have a very short duration, sometimes just a fraction of a second. Although this particular collision lasted over eight seconds. The brightness of the impact was roughly the same as the Pole star, which makes this the brightest impact that we have ever recorded on Earth.
The researchers say a lump of rock weighing about 400kg slammed into the surface of the moon at 61,000km/h. They believe that this dense mass hit the lunar surface with energy equivalent to about 15 tonnes of TNT. This is about three times more explosive than another lunar impact recorded by NASA last March.