On March 17, 2013, an object the size of a large boulder, crashed into the surface of the moon. The resulting flash of light was 10 times greater than any recorded direct-moon hit to date and in fact was so bright, it was visible by the naked eye from Earth. NASA astronomers have been monitoring the moon for lunar meteor impacts for the past eight years, and haven’t seen anything this powerful before. Scientists at NASA explained that the object’s 56,000 MPH speed and lack of atmosphere on the Moon are the reason the explosion, calculated as the equivalent to five tons of TNT, was so grand. They are estimating that the flash of light was the same intensity as a 4th magnitude star and that the crater it created when it struck the moon’s surface measures 65 feet wide.
An interesting question to ask is, if the Moon has no oxygen, how can something explode? NASA explains:
“Lunar meteors don’t require oxygen or combustion to make themselves visible. They hit the ground with so much kinetic energy that even a pebble can make a crater several feet wide. The flash of light comes not from combustion but rather from the thermal glow of molten rock and hot vapors at the impact site.”