Have we ever observed, or better yet, recorded, an impact from a comet/meteorite/fragment/etc on another celestial body? For example, in all its time orbiting Mars, has the MRO observed anything impacting the surface?

All the other objects in our solar system that we've observed (aside from gas giants) are either speckled or virtually covered with craters, but I've never heard mention of actually seeing one of these impacts happen. At a basic level I'm curious if we've ever actually directly seen one, but what would be even better is if there's a publicly-available video of it happening.


Yes, there is an observed impact of a comet into a celestial body. A fairly recent one in 1994 is the comet which impacted into Jupiter, Shoemaker-Levy-9

Comet impacting into Jupiter

Here's a video of this event happening.

  • $\begingroup$ That's definitely impressive. I was actually thinking about impacts other than with gas giants, because I figured those would be less noticeable, but you've proven that assumption wrong. Are there any others (aside from Jupiter) you can add to the answer? $\endgroup$ – thanby Mar 10 '16 at 19:06
  • $\begingroup$ @thanby No, I'm afraid not $\endgroup$ – PatientZero Mar 16 '16 at 9:59

Asteroid impacts on the Moon are monitored by researchers and amateurs. The Meteoroid Environment Office has a list of candidate impacts I stumbled upon, Lunar Monitoring Program is another. Videos and photos of Lunar impacts.

enter image description here enter image description here One impact photo to the left. All recorded impacts 2005-2015 to the right above.

  • $\begingroup$ I wonder if the lack of recorded impacts on the parts of the Moon which face Earth most directly, according to this map, is an observational selection effect, or if it is because of Earth's gravity deflecting asteroids heading that way? $\endgroup$ – LocalFluff Mar 16 '16 at 10:37

At least some of the 'active asteroids' recently observed are most likely the result of impacts. One example is 2010 A2:

active asteroid 2010 A2

For more details, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P/2010_A2_(LINEAR).


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