The asteroid that hit the Moon recently caused quite an uproar amongst scientific communities and sparked curiosity about our solar system. It was the first time that an asteroid had been spotted and confirmed to impact the celestial body, breaking the long belief that asteroids tend to orbit our planet and its neighbors exclusively.
Sometimes astronomical chance has great moments in store for us. That happened, for example, to a Japanese astronomer. His name is Daichi Fujii. He is also the curator of the Hiratsuka City Museum. And he captured a flash that turned out to be from the asteroid that hit the Moon.
The astronomer captured the fall of a meteorite on the surface of the Moon. It caused a brief flash on the Earth’s satellite. Meteorites are heading towards the Earth every day. However, the vast majority of them burn up completely when they enter the atmosphere. But this does not happen in the case of those that hit the lunar surface. Why? Because the Moon has only a very thin exosphere. What does this mean? Meteorites hit the lunar surface much more frequently.
The time of this recent flash was recorded at 20:14 Japan time (11:14 GMT) on February 23. Apparently, the meteorite fell near the crater Ideler L. This is located in the low southern latitudes of the Moon. It is located slightly northwest of the crater Pitiscus, according to Fujii.
According to the astronomer, the newly formed crater could be about 12 meters in diameter. Soon its formation could be confirmed. It would be done by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter space probe or the Indian lunar probe Chandrayaan 2.
Looking at the Moon
Meteorites fly at an average speed of about 48,000 kilometers per hour. This is equivalent to 13.4 kilometers per second. Their high-speed impact generates intense heat, creates craters, and emits a bright flash of visible light. Collisions with the Moon can be seen from Earth. This, of course, only if the meteorite is large enough. And if it occurs in an area facing the Earth during the lunar night.
In such cases, there may be someone watching just at that instant. As happened with the asteroid that hit the Moon.