Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Moon Science

Astronomers Catch Asteroid Striking Moon On Video 69

Posted by Soulskill
from the meteorite-indicted,-court-date-set dept.
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."

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Astronomers Catch Asteroid Striking Moon On Video

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @03:39PM (#46337773)
    Thanks for taking one for the team.
    • Re:Way to go moon! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Ken_g6 (775014) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @04:11PM (#46338167) Homepage

      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: (Score:1, Offtopic)

        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.

      • by cyn1c77 (928549)

        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.

        • by Bartles (1198017)
          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: (Score:3, Funny)

          by osu-neko (2604)
          A peer reviewed science fair project? I'm not sure if "Ken has cooties" and similar reviews from his peers would have contributed significantly.
      • by Solandri (704621)
        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.
      • by Agent0013 (828350)
        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.
  • by paiute (550198) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @03:43PM (#46337833)
    The film just got mailed back to them from the camera shop.
    • 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

    • by bobbied (2522392)

      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.

    • by sadness203 (1539377) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @04:08PM (#46338117)
      They could at least have added the sound, too...
  • Another day older and deeper in debt..

    • by sosume (680416)

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

  • At the bright side though...

  • Units (Score:4, Insightful)

    by agm (467017) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @04:25PM (#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 (Score:5, Informative)

      by FranklinWebber (1307427) * <franklin@eutaxy.net> on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @05:03PM (#46338759) Homepage

      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".

      • by agm (467017)

        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.

      • by hawkfish (8978)

        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?

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

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

    • by JustNiz (692889)

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

  • by AdamHaun (43173) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @05:19PM (#46338981) Journal

    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

    • by AdamHaun (43173)

      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.

  • by Anonymous Coward

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

  • ...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...

    • by k6mfw (1182893)

      ...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.

    • by itsdapead (734413) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @05:57PM (#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.

      • 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"?

      • there would have been a loud 'kaboom'

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

        • by itsdapead (734413)

          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.

    • ...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 (expl

    • by Deadstick (535032)

      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?

      • 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.

  • Zoom in and enhance! :P

  • 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.

  • 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

"Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberrys!" -- Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Working...