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An Explosion on the Moon

Friday, January 6, 2006

Explosion on Moon
The red dot marks the location of the Nov. 7, 2005, meteoroid impact.

Credit: NASA/MSFC/Bill Cooke
December 23, 2005: NASA scientists have observed an explosion on the moon. The blast, equal in energy to about 70 kg of TNT, occurred near the edge of Mare Imbrium (the Sea of Rains) on Nov. 7, 2005, when a 12-centimeter-wide meteoroid slammed into the ground traveling 27 km/s.

"What a surprise," says Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) researcher Rob Suggs, who recorded the impact's flash. He and colleague Wes Swift were testing a new telescope and video camera they assembled to monitor the moon for meteor strikes. On their first night out, "we caught one," says Suggs.

The object that hit the moon was "probably a Taurid," says MSFC meteor expert  

Bill Cooke. In other words, it was part of the same meteor shower that peppered Earth with fireballs in late October and early November 2005.

More: NASA -So you thought nothing ever happens on the moon?

New Discoveries at Uranus

Friday, January 6, 2006

Fully-labeled composite image
Fully-labeled composite image

Credit: NASA, ESA, and M. Showalter (SETI Institute)

Deep exposure of Uranus taken with the Hubble Space Telescope reveal two small moons and two faint rings. All orbit outside of Uranus's previously known (main) ring system, but interior to the large, classical moons. The outer new moon, U XXVI Mab, orbits at roughly twice the radius of the main rings and shares its orbit with a dust ring. The second moon, U XXVII Cupid, orbits just interior to the satellite Belinda. A second ring falls between the orbits of Portia and Rosalind, in a region with no known source bodies. Collectively, these constitute a densely-packed, rapidly varying and possibly unstable dynamical system.

More: SETI - New Discoveries at Uranus