You dudes know that I like to look at the night sky and talk about all the cool stuff up there.
Well, you should know that. If you’ve been around here more than once or twice. You have, haven’t you? Please say yes. I’m feeling very alone and scared now. I. . .
Never mind. All better now. Minor disturbance in the equilibrium As if no voices cried out and then vanished.
Which, depending on whether or not you believe in the theory of tiny little MoonMen living on the Moon is what happened just a week or so ago.
A meteoroid struck the surface of the moon recently, causing an explosion that was visible on Earth without the aid of a telescope, NASA reported Friday. But don’t be alarmed if you didn’t see it; it only lasted about a second.
“It exploded in a flash nearly 10 times as bright as anything we’ve ever seen before,” said Bill Cooke, of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office.
Yep. We’ve been keeping an eye on the moon for the last eight years or so, looking for exactly what happened up there on May 17. We’re looking at the moon, because it presents a big, old target without all that pesky atmosphere. Because, you see, said atmosphere has this actually quite beneficial habit of burning up a lot of the little rocks that are headed right at your head.
Scientists are watching the moon so they can get a better handle on when the Earth travels through debris clouds that we might need to worry about.
NASA says the meteoroid was about 40 kilograms and less than a meter wide, and it hit the moon’s surface at 56,000 mph. It glowed like a 4th magnitude star, NASA says, thanks to an explosion equivalent to 5 tons of TNT.
“It jumped right out at me, it was so bright,” said Ron Suggs of the Marshall Space Flight Center.
Cooke says Earth was pelted by meteoroids at about the same time, but they hit the moon because it has no atmosphere to protect it.
If you’re like me and you were wondering how there could be a visible explosion since, with no atmosphere there can be no oxidation and no flaming explosion like we’re used to seeing here on Earth. . . Well, worry no longer.
Turns out the visible reaction seen by astronomers wasn’t an explosion, but was, instead, a flash from the suddenly molten Moon rock meeting a meteoroid at approximately a gazillion miles an hour.
Science fact for the day.