Bad Astronomy

SMART-1 kicked up some dust!

When the European probe SMART-1 impacted the Moon a few days ago, it was unknown at the time whether the impact would kick up a visible dust cloud or not.

Now we know. The animation above is a sequence of images taken by the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, and clearly shows a plume of dust ejected by the impact. The dust appears to “blow in the wind”, but actually what you’re seeing is the dust kicked up and forward by the low angle impact of the spacecraft. Without air, wind is a bit of a problem (unless you think the Moon landings were faked, in which case, feh).

You can see a bigger version here.

Wow. This is way, way cool.