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Astronomers Catch Asteroid Striking Moon On Video

Soulskill posted about 7 months ago | from the meteorite-indicted,-court-date-set dept.

Moon 69

spineas writes "A 4.5-foot-wide asteroid struck the moon in September 2013, and astronomers were lucky enough to catch the impact flash on video, now confirmed as the brightest ever witnessed from Earth. The Orlando Sentinel reports that the asteroid likely weighed nearly 900 pounds, and exploded on impact with the moon with the force of 15 tons of TNT."

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Way to go moon! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46337773)

Thanks for taking one for the team.

Re:Way to go moon! (4, Interesting)

Ken_g6 (775014) | about 7 months ago | (#46338167)

Thanks for taking one for the team.

I actually did a science fair project once testing whether the moon's gravity led to Earth getting hit with fewer asteroids. The effect was statistically insignificant.

Re:Way to go moon! (1, Offtopic)

DolomiteZipper (768505) | about 7 months ago | (#46338567)

I actually did a science fair project once testing whether the moon's gravity led to Earth getting hit with fewer asteroids. The effect was statistically insignificant.

Cool story.

Re:Way to go moon! (1)

cyn1c77 (928549) | about 7 months ago | (#46339165)

Thanks for taking one for the team.

I actually did a science fair project once testing whether the moon's gravity led to Earth getting hit with fewer asteroids. The effect was statistically insignificant.

Was it peer reviewed? Because then this would be interesting... especially if you posted a link to the details.

Re:Way to go moon! (1)

Bartles (1198017) | about 7 months ago | (#46339341)

Yeah, because having it reviewed by a bunch of like minded yes-men always makes something more believable. The peer review process is a sham.

Re:Way to go moon! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46339519)

Yeah well that's like your opinion man.

Re:Way to go moon! (1)

Bartles (1198017) | about 7 months ago | (#46341353)

Don't throw coffee mugs!

Re:Way to go moon! (3, Funny)

osu-neko (2604) | about 7 months ago | (#46339997)

A peer reviewed science fair project? I'm not sure if "Ken has cooties" and similar reviews from his peers would have contributed significantly.

Re:Way to go moon! (1)

Solandri (704621) | about 7 months ago | (#46343555)

Most people have a very distorted view of how close the Earth and Moon are relative to their size. A picture of the two to scale [wikimedia.org] makes it pretty obvious that the Moon can't really intercept or attract many objects which might hit the Earth.

Re:Way to go moon! (1)

Agent0013 (828350) | about 7 months ago | (#46347903)

I always wondered how they could say that the moon helped protect the Earth from impacts. Anything it deflects away from the Earth would be countered by the same number that it deflects into hitting the Earth.

Re:Way to go moon! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46339661)

Yup, it took an arrow in the knee for humanity.

phucked up 'weather' could be improved.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46337807)

after it gets even worse of course http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=weather%20manipulation&sm=3 or even worser http://www.globalresearch.ca/weather-warfare-beware-the-us-military-s-experiments-with-climatic-warfare/7561 then we'll get a break.....

September of last year (2)

paiute (550198) | about 7 months ago | (#46337833)

The film just got mailed back to them from the camera shop.

Re:September of last year (2)

Freshly Exhumed (105597) | about 7 months ago | (#46337907)

Cut them some slack. It takes a long time to spin up a cover story for what was obviously not a natural occurrence. It was actually a weapons test conducted by the

i saw two flashes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46342011)

there were two flashes how you explain that

Re:i saw two flashes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46343633)

That's what makes it a super secret weapon. But I'll tell what how it works. Not that you deserve to know. The first explosion comes from the ground penetrating charge, the second is actually underground. The hole made by the first explosion, the heat from nuclear fission explosion and forward speed of the second stage combine to make perfect conditions for the fusion explosion.

This weapon will be perfect for use against hardened martian installations which of course you probably don't know already exist. You see the world governments realized that with the creation of nuclear rockets that the solar system was within reach. But of course why share the power with the people when you can have it all for yourself. The wars you've seen on TV are actually being fought in space but in-order to fund the space wars they make fake earth wars. WIN!!!

Re:September of last year (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 7 months ago | (#46338095)

Apparently, have you tried to get 8mm film developed quick these days?

Seriously, it takes time for this stuff to wind its way though the verification process. Just because you have a bright flash on some video doesn't mean you actually saw something worth reporting. Such claims require some verification, and verification takes time.

Re:September of last year (4, Funny)

sadness203 (1539377) | about 7 months ago | (#46338117)

They could at least have added the sound, too...

Re:September of last year (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46338319)

Marcel Marceau was narrating. He did the 2001/2010 movies as well.

Re:September of last year (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46339633)

Indeed. This is an obvious hoax. If it were real, the sound should have been able to be heard from Earth.

Re:September of last year (2)

steelfood (895457) | about 7 months ago | (#46339687)

If they wanted sound, they would've outsourced the production to Michael Bay.

How do we disable the beta so we can read the summ (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46337901)

The title sounds interesting, but without the links in the summary, /. is useless.

Re:How do we disable the beta so we can read the s (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46337957)

My bookmark has said http://slashdot.org/?nobeta=1 [slashdot.org] since before the Slashcott.

Re:How do we disable the beta so we can read the s (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 7 months ago | (#46340541)

What are you talking about? The summary has links in Beta.

15 tons and what do you get (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 7 months ago | (#46337923)

Another day older and deeper in debt..

Re:15 tons and what do you get (1)

sosume (680416) | about 7 months ago | (#46338133)

This is a nice reason to go back to the moon for a mission to collect the remains of this 15 ton meteorite.

Re:15 tons and what do you get (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46344015)

Yeah, it's not like we don't have meteorites down here on mars already to study....

When will we learn that we need to do something (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46337937)

When will we finally learn that we need to do something about this? It is apparent now that if we don't take action soon, that global warming is going to destroy us.

Re:When will we learn that we need to do something (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 7 months ago | (#46338043)

So the sky IS falling? Apparently it is on the moon...

9/11 We Remember.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46337975)

...when an asteroid struck the moon

Thank you, CmdrTaco (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46338019)

Your Celestial Bottom has saved our hides once again.

2nd that notion rob (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46338175)

your concept has proven more valuable than any of us will ever likely know... why are we no longer promoting the trove deal?

For the impatient (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46338181)

Money shot (1)

jovius (974690) | about 7 months ago | (#46338261)

At the bright side though...

Units (3, Insightful)

agm (467017) | about 7 months ago | (#46338323)

It seems backwards that a scientific organisation still uses the archaic units of feet, pounds and miles when describing an event such as this.

Re:Units (4, Informative)

FranklinWebber (1307427) | about 7 months ago | (#46338759)

The first link in the summary leads to the Orlando Sentinel, which links to the full video from the Universidad de Huelva. That video estimates "400 kg, 0.6-1.4 m object, 40 m crater, 61000 km/h, 15 tons of TNT". The first three are SI units, the fourth closely related, and the fifth... well, "tons of TNT" dates from the 20th century so how can we call it archaic? It's the Orlando Sentinel who translates into those archaic English units for US-ers such as myself. In the second link in the summary Phil Plait goes so far as to translate the crater size into football fields, but perhaps we shouldn't fault him as that standard unit is neither "English" nor "archaic".

Re:Units (1)

agm (467017) | about 7 months ago | (#46339149)

Yes, my mistake, I falsely assumed the link took me to the authoritative source - next time I'll check! I find it difficult to visualise a foot, a mile, or a pound; metres and kg seem more natural. But that's edging ever so closely to troll territory so I'll stop now.

Re:Units (1)

hawkfish (8978) | about 7 months ago | (#46350583)

In the second link in the summary Phil Plait goes so far as to translate the crater size into football fields, but perhaps we shouldn't fault him as that standard unit is neither "English" nor "archaic".

When was the last time you were in Florida?

co-incidence? (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 7 months ago | (#46338347)

Japanese company plans solar plant on moon
Asteroid hits moon with energy of nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima

Re:co-incidence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46338683)

15 tons of TNT is not the same is 15-17 KILO-tons of TNT. But what's a few orders of magnitude among friends?

NSA very surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46338429)

They didn't prepare taps and cameras. Asteroid please, can strike again?

Whom to name the crater after? (1)

Deadstick (535032) | about 7 months ago | (#46338615)

Considering the priorities in the news media today, I hope they don't name the crater Bieber...

Re:Whom to name the crater after? (1)

JustNiz (692889) | about 7 months ago | (#46339133)

I hope they do, and I hope it has a big brother that comes looking for its namesake.

Name that asteroid! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46338637)

Video of it striking something?

How about Alec Baldwin?

For those who want to see the actual footage (4, Informative)

AdamHaun (43173) | about 7 months ago | (#46338981)

The video is almost five minutes long and mostly computer animations. Actual footage of the moon can be found in three segments:

2:13 - 2:23 Examples of previous impact flashes
3:00 - 3:08 Full-speed MIDAS video of the big flash
3:20 - 3:30 Slow motion MIDAS video of the big flash

Re:For those who want to see the actual footage (1)

AdamHaun (43173) | about 7 months ago | (#46338995)

Oops, I was looking at the first link and didn't even notice the video embedded in the Slashdot article. My comment is about the video in the Orlando Sentinel article.

Units (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46339047)

Why in Science name do You use two different units of mass in the same sentence?

Can someone please explain (1)

JustNiz (692889) | about 7 months ago | (#46339055)

...Why this impact apparently emitted so much light?

I get that the asteroid probably had a LOT of kinetic energy, but isn't it only in "Hollywood physics" that when two inert things collide you get a fiery explosion? .... and I'm even more surprised as it took place in a vacuum where my limetd understanding of conventional physics says fire cant happen...

Re:Can someone please explain (1)

k6mfw (1182893) | about 7 months ago | (#46339271)

...Why this impact apparently emitted so much light?

I get that the asteroid probably had a LOT of kinetic energy,

yes, an asteroid in motion has a lot of kinetic energy. I ask same question considering the rock was not equipped with pyrotechnics and no O2 on the moon. And yet FLASH! it must be physics when a multi-ton rock comes to a screeching halt, energy has to go someplace. Besides light, think of the heat generated. There's probably slabs of cooled molten soil all around. Let's see, maybe I'll look into my Resnick and Halliday and do some calculations.

Re:Can someone please explain (5, Informative)

itsdapead (734413) | about 7 months ago | (#46339379)

...Why this impact apparently emitted so much light?

I get that the asteroid probably had a LOT of kinetic energy, but isn't it only in "Hollywood physics" that when two inert things collide you get a fiery explosion? .... and I'm even more surprised as it took place in a vacuum where my limetd understanding of conventional physics says fire cant happen...

You're underestimating what "a lot of kinetic energy" is when you're talking about speeds measured in km per second - and kinetic energy goes with the square of the velocity.

A lot of kinetic energy gets transformed into a lot of heat. Hot things give off light (they don't need to be "on fire") - fire gives off light because it is hot. A light bulb gives off light but it isn't on fire - but it is hot. Lightning isn't on fire. The sun isn't on fire. Probably what you see is most of the asteroid (and a chunk of the moon) getting turned into a plume of superhot gas, if not plasma.

No Hollywood physics involved, or there would have been a loud 'kaboom' at exactly the same time as the flash, a perfectly circular blue shockwave ring shooting out from the moon and Harrison Ford in a fridge.

Re:Can someone please explain (1)

coolsnowmen (695297) | about 7 months ago | (#46340713)

The sun isn't on fire

I feel like you are [attempting] to split some weird pedantic hair with this one. Just because it isn't and oxygen reaction doesn't mean it isn't a giant fucking ball of flames. Or are you trying to say it isn't "on fire" because it "is fire"?

Re:Can someone please explain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46345661)

The sun is neither fire nor on fire. There's nothing pedantic about it.

I'll pick one definition of fire as an example, this one being from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F... [wikipedia.org] : "Fire is the rapid oxidation of a material in the exothermic chemical process of combustion, releasing heat, light, and various reaction products."

That's not what's happening with the sun. It's ferociously bright and hot. But there's no fire.

Re:Can someone please explain (1)

coolsnowmen (695297) | about 7 months ago | (#46346057)

And then I'll pick another: on fire [google.com]

in flames; burning. synonyms: burning, alight, ablaze, blazing, aflame, in flames;

I think you'd be hard pressed to tell me that the sun isn't alight or ablaze.

Re:Can someone please explain (1)

itsdapead (734413) | about 7 months ago | (#46355595)

in flames; burning. synonyms: burning, alight, ablaze, blazing, aflame, in flames;

Flame [wikipedia.org] :

A flame (from Latin flamma) is the visible, gaseous part of a fire.

...see definition of fire in GP post.

Re:Can someone please explain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46340985)

and lens flare mate, lens flare... don't forget them lens flare....

Re:Can someone please explain (1)

hackertourist (2202674) | about 7 months ago | (#46348939)

there would have been a loud 'kaboom'

Almost, grasshopper. There would have been an earthshattering kaboom.

Re:Can someone please explain (1)

itsdapead (734413) | about 7 months ago | (#46355571)

Almost, grasshopper. There would have been an earthshattering kaboom.

Bzzt. Wrong. That's cartoon physics. Hollywood physics assumes the audience is stupid. Cartoon physics assumes that the audience is intelligent enough to recognise and laugh at the absurdity.

Re:Can someone please explain (1)

crunchygranola (1954152) | about 7 months ago | (#46339469)

...Why this impact apparently emitted so much light?

I get that the asteroid probably had a LOT of kinetic energy, but isn't it only in "Hollywood physics" that when two inert things collide you get a fiery explosion? .... and I'm even more surprised as it took place in a vacuum where my limetd understanding of conventional physics says fire cant happen...

Explosions are not, in general, anything like "fire" (fuel burning in air by slowly mixing with it). Explosions are the sudden conversion of energy in a compact mass into heat, and the sudden expansion of that same, now very hot, mass. All of the energy in a chemical explosion is already present in the explosive - be it a mixture like gun powder, or high energy chemical molecules (TNT), or a high velocity object. Otherwise guns wouldn't work (cartridges are essentially sealed), torpedoes wouldn't work (explosions under the sea?), etc,. etc.

An asteroid or meteoroid hitting the Moon would be travelling at least at 11,000 m/sec (could be as high as 70,000 m/sec), which gives it a kinetic energy equal to at least 60 million J per kg, or 15 times (could be 500 times) the energy of an equal mass of TNT. The result is a much hotter and brighter explosion when it hits something than an equally energetic mass of high explosive.

Re:Can someone please explain (2)

Deadstick (535032) | about 7 months ago | (#46339785)

What itsdapead said. Hot things glow. Very hot things glow very brightly. When that much kinetic energy gets turned into heat, things get very hot indeed.

Turn on a light bulb and watch what the filament does. It's in a vacuum. Do you see any combustibles being burned up? Do you see any light?

Re:Can someone please explain (1)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about 7 months ago | (#46344167)

Turn on a light bulb and watch what the filament does. It's in a vacuum.

It's not if the bulb was made in the last hundred years.

that's my kind of astrology... (1)

steak (145650) | about 7 months ago | (#46339175)

trollface.jpg

Check the history books (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46339439)

I believe that this was seen in historical times from Earth hundreds of years ago. I think it was seen with the naked eye so was a much larger strike.

Again with the new Slashdot Beta (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46339869)

well, an impact on the Moon visible from earth is of interest. What about any of the seismological instruments on the moon?
Will we get a free internal structure mapping from the shock waves? or is the instrumentation not there? If not, why not?

Oh Yeah - FU#* Beta! and get off my lawn!

That was no Asteroid... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46340039)

That was an American Nuclear Tipped Missile destroying one of the Grey Alien Moon bases on the moon....

Closer please. (1)

antdude (79039) | about 7 months ago | (#46340473)

Zoom in and enhance! :P

Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46342155)

I thought *Real* meteors only came in meters and weighed kilos, not pounds. At least the crater was metric.

moon is now closer or farther away? (1)

JigJag (2046772) | about 7 months ago | (#46345183)

I wonder if such a meagre impact has an measurable effect on the moon distance from the earth in the long run. I tend to recall that due to various forces, the moon is slowly escaping Earth's gravity, but maybe by happenstance, events like this just give this tiny nudge that puts it back in track.

Not the brightest ever witnessed after all (1)

Dishwasha (125561) | about 7 months ago | (#46345579)

Coincidentally I was watching Carl Sagan's Cosmos Episode 4 [wikipedia.org] last night and he talked about several credible eye witness accounts recorded by the Gervase of Canterbury [wikipedia.org] where an impact on the moon was so bright that it was seen at dusk and generated a very large and visible plume, much much larger in size and longer in duration than that brief flash the MIDAS program reported about. You'll have to watch Episode 4 to learn what impact crater astronomers were able to match these accounts against, but it was a ray crater positioned on the moon consistent with the eye witness accounts.

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