On the moon there are constant stone «rain», scientists have found

© NELIOTA ProjectСледы falling asteroids on the moon in the images obtained by the ESA telescope in GreeceOn the moon there are constant stone «rain», scientists have found© NELIOTA Project

Astronomers observing small asteroids like the Chelyabinsk meteorite, found on the moon are constant «rain» of small fragments of asteroids, in fact, continuously bombarding its surface, the press service of the European space Agency.

«Our dual camera allows us to see flashes on the moon’s surface, which previously no one has managed to do with one telescope. Collecting data over the next 22 months, we realized how many asteroids with a diameter of 10 meters and less lives in the vicinity of the Earth. In addition, these data will help us to uncover the physics of outbreaks and to understand the objects which the masses of their cause,» says Alceste Bonanos (Alceste Bonanos) from the Institute of astronomy in Athens, Greece.

In the last few decades, scientists around the world actively monitor the asteroid and conduct a sort of cosmic «census», trying to understand how dangerous they are for humanity. Asteroids in near-earth space so much that astronomers had to create a special scale to assess how likely they fall to the Ground.

Despite all this and the huge number of asteroids discovered in recent years using ground-based telescopes and infrared space Observatory WISE, many of the larger asteroids and countless smaller objects the size of Chelyabinsk meteorite that fell to Earth in February 2013, still unknown to us.

The NELIOTA project has begun to detect flashes of light caused by tiny pieces of rock striking the #Moon’s surface: https://t.co/5YGFxKAUyU pic.twitter.com/CnSJdHdkIU

— ESA Science (@esascience) May 24, 2017

To solve this problem, ESA has created a project NELIOTA, in which a 1.2-metre telescope was installed at the Observatory of Kryoneri in Greece, modernized specifically for observations of near-earth asteroids. Engineers and astronomers, ESA has set multiple ultra-fast high resolution cameras, able to see traces of drops, even small objects on the surface of the moon.

NELIOTA launched in February 2015, but its full operation began only in March this year, when in Kryonéri set up a second camera, which significantly increased the resolution and sensitivity of the telescope and allowed it to monitor the sky in real time, says Bonanos.

As demonstrated by the first observation of the moon’s surface in March and April, the companion of our planet are constant «stone rain» – during 11 hours of observations, scientists have recorded four falls of small asteroids the size of Chelyabinsk meteorite, localized the craters and measured their temperature at the moment of birth of these craters.

As predicted by planetary scientists, for 22 months of work of a telescope in Kryoneri commit thousands and tens of thousands of such outbreaks and episodes. These data, according to astronomers, will help to estimate the number of potentially hazardous asteroids in the vicinity of the Earth and find out how often they fall and what consequences this usually brings.


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