How to Watch the Moon Bombing In Real Time

If you have nothing to do on Friday, October 9, at 7:31AM Eastern/4:31AM Pacific, reserve that spot for some serious space fireworks. At that time you can see how NASA bombs the Moon from orbit using this huge thing:

How to Watch the Moon Bombing In Real Time

Click to enlarge

That's a Centaur, the upper stage of the Atlas 5 rocket that took the Lunar CRater Observing and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) to our beloved Selene. It will impact against the Cabeus crater at 5,600mph, causing another crater about one third the size of a football field.

The Cabeus crater was selected because it's likely to show definitive proof of water in the moon, based on the information from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, Lunar Prospector, Chandrayaan-1, and JAXA's Kaguya spacecraft. The bombing is designed to measure the proportion of water—ice to dust ratio—in lunar regolith.

The effects of the impact—a plume projected to be thirty miles high—will be observable from Earth using telescopes larger than 10 inches. The good news is that you don't have to own such a huge telescope to see it. In fact, you have three options to enjoy the show.

• Attend one of the many public events organized by observatories throughout the country. You can see a list of events here.

• Watch NASA TV, which will broadcast the event.

• Use Slooh, the site that lets you control telescopes around the world in your PJs. Go to this page here to get more information about it.

Click to viewI'm so excited that I'm wearing my Apollo undapants already.