The moon has earned all its craters and it can now add two fresh impact sites to its tally. A fascinating video shows the bright flashes that happened when two meteoroids landed on the moon’s surface earlier this month.
The Moon Impacts Detection and Analysis System (MIDAS) uses a series of telescopes equipped with video cameras to monitor the moon and watch for new impacts. MIDAS caught sight of the meteoroids when they hit on July 17 and 18. The rocks smashed down about 24 hours apart from each other.
ESA highlighted the eye-catching flashes late last week, noting the meteoroids were each roughly the size of walnuts and probably traced back to the Alpha Capricornids meteor shower, which occurs when the Earth and moon pass through the dust trail left by comet 169P/NEAT.
The Alpha Capricornids can also put on a streaking light show for Earth observers as small rocks enter our planet’s atmosphere.
“By studying meteoroids on the moon we can determine how many rocks impact it and how often, and from this we can infer the chance of impacts on Earth,” said Jose Maria Madiedo from MIDAS.
The rocks didn’t survive their journey. They were vaporized on impact and left craters behind as mementos of their journey.