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Space Rock Leaves Massive Crater on Moon During Full Lunar Eclipse

It was the first impact flash ever observed during a lunar eclipse

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space rock, full lunar eclipse
FILE - This image from video provided by Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles shows an impact flash on the moon (Bottom-L) during the lunar eclipse which started on Jan. 20, 2019. VOA

A space rock left a massive crater on the moon during January’s total lunar eclipse. Spanish scientists reported Tuesday the meteoroid hit the moon at 38,000 mph (61,000 kph), carving out a crater nearly 50 feet (15 meters) across. It was the first impact flash ever observed during a lunar eclipse.

The scientists — who operate a lunar impact detection system using eight telescopes in Spain — believe the incoming object was a comet fragment up to 2 feet (60 centimeters) across and 100 pounds (45 kilograms). The impact energy was equivalent to 1 { tons of TNT.

full Lunar Eclipse, space rock
It was the first impact flash ever observed during a lunar eclipse. Pixabay

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Astrophysicist Jose Maria Madiedo of the University of Huelva says it was “really exciting” to observe the event, after many unsuccessful tries.

The findings appear in the Royal Astronomical Society’s Monthly Notices. (VOA)

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Space Rock Twice the Size of Big Ben to Skim Past Earth: NASA

"These asteroids have been well observed and their orbits are very well known," said NASA's Planetary Defence Officer Lindley Johnson

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University of Iowa, Radiation, Sun
FILE - Tourists take pictures of a NASA sign at the Kennedy Space Center visitors complex in Cape Canaveral, Florida, April 14, 2010. VOA

NASA is closely monitoring an asteroid with an estimated diameter of about 755 feet — larger than the Golden Gate Bridge tower or more than twice the height of London’s Big Ben — that is currently heading towards Earth and is expected to skim past the planet on Monday.

Flying towards the planet at a speed of over 61,500 miles per hour, the Near-Earth Object (NEO) is big enough to destroy an entire city if collides with the Earth.

The approaching asteroid has been identified as “2020 AQ1”.

According to Express.co.uk, the asteroid will make its closest Earth approach on January 20 at around 2.54 am EST (1.24 pm India time).

The European Space Agency (ESA) has identified 21,655 NEO asteroids and 109 NEO comets.

NASA
Earth’s view from moon’s surface. Pixabay

The asteroid will hurtle past the planet on what astronomers have described as a “close approach” trajectory.

NASA’s trackers estimate the rock measures somewhere in the range of 328 feet -754 feet across – more than twice the height of London’s Big Ben.

Last September, a pair of asteroids flew past the Earth.

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“These asteroids have been well observed and their orbits are very well known,” said NASA’s Planetary Defence Officer Lindley Johnson.

“Both of these asteroids are passing at about 14 lunar distances from the Earth, or about 3.5 million miles away, but small asteroids pass by Earth this close all the time,” he added. (IANS)