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Watch a Meteor Explode on the Moon, Resulting in the 'Brightest Impact' in Recorded History


"It was almost as bright as the Pole Star."

Image source: J. Madiedo/MIDAS

What were you doing on Sept. 11, 2013, at 8:07 p.m.? If you were staring up at the moon, you might have witnessed the largest lunar impact of recorded history.

Fortunately, if you weren't gazing up at the night sky, astronomers at the University of Huelva in Spain didn't want you to miss out and just released video of the event.

Check it out:

While it isn't unusual for meteorites to bombard the moon -- how do you think it got to be so pockmarked? -- ones like that spotted by the Moon Impacts Detection and Analysis System in September are rare.

Image source: J. Madiedo/MIDAS Image source: J. Madiedo et. al/MIDAS

Image source: J. Madiedo/MIDAS Image source: J. Madiedo et al./MIDAS

"Usually lunar impacts have a very short duration -- just a fraction of a second. But the impact we detected lasted over eight seconds. It was almost as bright as the Pole Star, which makes it the brightest impact event that we have recorded from Earth,"Jose Madiedo, a professor with the University of Huelva, said, according to BBC.

In the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society journal article detailing the event, the astronomers estimated that the impact was like 15 tons of TNT exploding. The result of such an impact, the team estimated, could result in a 131-foot-wide crater, which the BBC reported they believe NASA's observations will confirm.

This story has been updated to included an extended version of the video from the university. 

(H/T: Space)

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