On September 11 last year, a large asteroid crashed into the moon. On January 28 this year, the sun unleashed a vivid flare. In both cases, telescopes were strategically positioned to record these dramatic events like never before.
Space.com reports the asteroid that struck the moon triggered the brightest explosion ever seen on its surface:
The space rock hit at a staggering speed of 37,900 mph (61,000 km/h), gouging out a new crater roughly 131 feet (40 meters) wide in an ancient lava-filled lunar basin known as Mare Nubium … The scientists think the boulder behind the crash was about 880 lbs. (400 kg) and measured between 2 and 4.5 feet (0.6 and 1.4 meters) in diameter.
You can watch it here:
The footage was grabbed by Jose Madiedo, a professor at the University of Huelva, who operates two moon-watching telescopes in the south of Spain, part of the Moon Impacts Detection and Analysis System, according to Space.com.
NASA says the solar flare captured by its Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) on January 28 was the largest since it was launched in the summer of 2013.
Prior to the eruption, scientists had intentionally pointed IRIS towards the region where the flare occurred.
“… IRIS can’t look at the entire sun at the same time, so the team must always make decisions about what region might provide useful observations,” NASA writes. “On Jan. 28, scientists spotted a magnetically active region on the sun and focused IRIS on it.”