UAE detects rare sequential impacts on Moon

Eudore R. Chand

SHARJAH 27 January 2021: The Sharjah Astronomical Observatory has detected rare sequential impacts on the Moon.

After analysing the time of impacts and their relative positions, the team concluded that they are a series of meteorite impacts. They resulted from the disintegration of the meteoroid due to the gravitational pull of the moon as it approached its surface.

Meteoroids were fragmented and fell in pieces scattered longitudinally and happened in several impacts, such as the case of Comet Shoemaker-Levy when it approached the surface of Jupiter in 1994. Its parts were fragmented and collided with the planet in the form of a longitudinal chain. This also happened to the asteroid that hit Earth in 2008, and its parts were scattered over a wide longitudinal area in the Nubian Desert in Northern Sudan, said Wam.

What distinguishes this series of impacts is that they occurred within a short time (one minute) and were of greater brightness than usual. Also, their flash periods were relatively long, as periods of up to a quarter of a second were recorded in each impact and this is considered a long time for such events. It is noticeable that these impacts spread in the middle of the dark eastern side of the moon at the time of observation and spread over a distance of 1000 kilometres on its surface.

It appears from preliminary analyses of these impacts have created new craters on the surface of the moon ranging in diameter from 5 to 10 metres.

Sharjah Astronomical Observatory team is now working on a deeper analysis of these lunar impacts to determine the source and mass of the main object. This within the observatory’s various projects, which include monitoring galaxies and binary stars, studying variable stars, and determining the age of star groups – all to disseminate scientific information and supporting research projects.

There are monthly scheduled observations to monitor lunar impacts using the Sharjah Lunar Impact Observatory (SLIO) telescope. These impacts appear in the form of very short light flashes, sometimes reaching fractions of a second, so accuracy is crucial.


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