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Dynamic Moon

In 2003, astronomers announced that data and observations indicated one particular crater might well be classified as the youngest crater thus far discovered. The crater, formed in 1953 by an asteroid impact, is the only known lunar crater to have been formed during recorded human history. New and more powerful telescopes, along with orbiting satellite photos now allow examination of the impact site and astronomers observed indications of a fresh crater in the impact zone (i.e., the area corresponding to the impact flash observed in 1953).

Although impacts continue, and thus new crater formation is a continuous event, the crater at the 1953 impact site is the first new crater to be observed.

The object that struck the Moon is estimated to have been about 328 yd (300 m) across and the estimated energy released from impact would have been the equivalent of approximately that observed from the detonation of one-half megaton of TNT (more than 30 times more energetically destructive than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima).



Bakich, Michael A. The Cambridge Planetary Handbook. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

Light, Michael, and Andrew Chaikin. Full Moon. New York: Knopf, 2000.

Wlasuk, Peter. Observing the Moon (Practical Astronomy). New York: Springer Verlag, 2002.


Williams, David R., NASA, National Space Science Data Center. "The Moon" [cited March 10, 2003]. <http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/planets/moonpage.html>.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Molecular distillation to My station and its duties:Moon - Phases And Eclipses, The Lunar Surface, Moon Rocks, Lunar Origin, Dynamic Moon - Lunar ice