The Biggest Explosion Ever Seen on the Moon!

Two months ago, a boulder-sized object smashed into the surface of the Moon. The resulting flash — which could be seen by the naked eye — was 10 times brighter than anything witnessed before.

The Moon is hit by meteoroids all the time, but this impact was particularly notable. Looking at it from Earth, the one-second flare-up would have had the same intensity as a 4th magnitude star.

The meteoroid is estimated to have been about 40 kg and about 0.3 to 0.4 meters wide. But because it was traveling at 56,000 mph — and with no atmsophere to slow its descent — it resulted in an explosion equivalent to five tons of TNT.

The Biggest Explosion Ever Seen on the Moon!

An interesting question to ask is, if the Moon has no oxygen, how can something explode? NASA explains:

Lunar meteors don't require oxygen or combustion to make themselves visible. They hit the ground with so much kinetic energy that even a pebble can make a crater several feet wide. The flash of light comes not from combustion but rather from the thermal glow of molten rock and hot vapors at the impact site.

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Images: NASA.