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Use Your Telescope to Photograph
Last week NASA released this map of 100 explosions on the Moon, observed in the last two and half years. (read original article at NASA)
“They’re explosions caused by meteoroids hitting the Moon,” says Bill Cooke, head of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office at the Marshall Space Flight Center (press release). “A typical blast is about as powerful as a few hundred pounds of TNT and can be photographed easily using a backyard telescope.”
NASA started monitoring Moon explosions toward the end of 2005. As they were planning to send astronauts back there “it seemed like a good idea to measure how often the Moon was getting hit”, says Rob Suggs, also at the Marshall Center.
Meteoroids hit the Moon so fast, normally at least 13,000 m/s, that they heat up the surface enough that it glows. Hence you get an ‘explosion’ despite a lack of oxygen.
I think the most fascinating part of this story is the claim that you can easily photograph these explosions using a "backyard telescope". Has anybody out there tried doing this yet?