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“It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.” – Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)

Fresh Reads from the Science 'o sphere!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Out With A Tiny Bang

The SMART-1 spacecraft has impacted the moon ( at 05:42.15 GMT) and as expected a small flash was observed at the impact site.

Here's a gif animation of the event captured by the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope at Mauna Kea. It only appears on one frame, so don't blink or you'll miss it!

This animation is made up of 10-second exposures with an infra-red camera. It covers approximately 200km X 200km of the lunar surface. The impact flash itself measures about 5km in diameter.

That's quite a show for a 300kg spacecraft coming to a skippy stop, but I don't know how bright that flash looks like in the visible light spectrum. Even through a large amateur telescope (12") it might only look like a quick, tiny spark. I suspect most amateur observers may have missed it.

Still, if I find a nice visible light impact image I will put it up here for you. Yessy!


graceolle said...

Cool picture u seem like about things in space haha.

Xisla said...