The Earth’s atmosphere prevents a lot of outer space objects from impacting, but the moon has no guard against these projectiles. What’s the largest moon impact that has been 1) witnessed 2) documented 3) filmed?
The largest crater on the moon was only recently discovered: The Aitken Basin The cite says it’s actually the largest known impact crater in the solar system - 1300 miles wide.
I’ve heard of some people claiming to see flashes of light but I do not believe there has ever been a verified observation of the Moon being struck by an object of substantial size.
It’s true that the Moom lacks an atmosphere to stop meteors, but really big strikes are still very rare. Scientists have also theorized that the far side of the Moon, which we don’t see too often, takes the majority of hits.
Wasn’t there some enormous impact in the 11th century that was witnessed by some monks in Asia? I have a vague recollection of reading something like this somewhere.
Close. It was one monk, by the name of Gervase of Canterbury, who witnessed a flash of light on the Moon, later thought to have been an asteroid impact. Some astronomers believed that a crater called Giordano Bruno was the result, but some doubt has been cast on this in recent years. See here.
I know it’s not the moon, and the impact itself wasn’t actually photographed, but Comet Shoemaker-Levy deserves honorable mention for being the largest planetary impact ever witnessed.
I thought the moon was made of cheese? :^/
Was he one of the group of five people that the article says saw the impact?
Thanks for that link. Fascinating stuff. That sure is a big crater, or at least it threw out a lot of stuff. How come that was linked with the incident in 1178 in the first place? How do we know that’s about when that crater appeared?
I heard that that moon is still shaking as a result of the impact, and the shakes can be detected by sensitive equiptment. Is this right?
The shaking probably doesn’t last for days, however: