Are there any new craters on the moon?
I was wondering if there are any new craters on the moon. I read that football field size meteors hit us from time to time and burn up in the atmosphere. Seems to me, something like that hitting the moon would leave a new crater big enough to be seen. Yet, after years of sky watching and reading all the astronmy stuff on the web, I have never heard of one being found. Have any been found or observed?
It turns out that an impactor much larger than a football would be necessary to produce a crater that could be seen from Earth. There is, however, one new crater that has been reported. The location of a crater found in images from the Clementine (1994) mission coincides with an observed flash in 1953. However, there is really no way to know exactly how old the crater is. The crater is about 2 km in diameter and it is estimated that the body that produced it was 300m across. And even that crater is too small to be observed from ground-based telescopes. Here is a link to a news story about it.
There is another crater that was previously thought to be the youngest, created about 800 years ago. A flash was observed and recorded by a monk in Canterbury, but recent study shows that it probably wasn't created then - the flash was actually a meteor that entered the atmosphere in the right place so that, looking from Canturbury, it looked like the Moon was involved, and so the crater is much older.
One way, however, that impacts on the moon might possibly be visible is by observing the flash that occurs when a small impactor hits, which may have occurred during the 1999 Leonid meteor shower.
Get More 'Curious?' with Our New PODCAST:
- Podcast? Subscribe? Tell me about the Ask an Astronomer Podcast
- Subscribe to our Podcast | Listen to our current Episode
- Cool! But I can't now. Send me a quick reminder now for later.
- What would happen to the Earth if an asteroid hit the Moon?
- Did I find a rock that came from the Moon?
- Why are there no craters on Earth? Did all the meteorites miss us?
- Will Comet Elenin (C/2010 X1) affect the Earth on its close approach in Fall 2011?
How to ask a question:
If you have a follow-up question concerning the above subject, submit it here. If you have a question about another area of astronomy, find the topic you're interested in from the archive on our site menu, or go here for help.Table 'curious.Referrers' doesn't existTable 'curious.Referrers' doesn't exist
This page has been accessed 23027 times since August 5, 2003.
Last modified: August 5, 2003 3:09:56 PM
Ask an Astronomer is hosted by the Astronomy Department at Cornell University and is produced with PHP and MySQL.
Warning: Your browser is misbehaving! This page might look ugly. (Details)