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By Expert Author: Rupa

Paris: A Spanish astronomer on Monday said he had witnessed a fridge-sized asteroid smash into the Moon, in the biggest lunar impact by a space rock ever recorded.

The rare episode was seen by Jose Maria Madiedo, a professor at the University of Huelva, Britain's Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) said.

On September 11 last year, Madiedo was operating two lunar-observing telescopes when he spotted a flash in the Mare Nubium, an ancient, dark lava-filled basin.

The flare, which occurred at 2007 GMT, was briefly almost as bright as the northern hemisphere's Pole Star, the RAS said.

It would have been visible to the naked eye to anyone who happened to be looking at the Moon at that moment in good viewing conditions, the RAS said.

There followed a long afterglow, lasting another eight seconds - the longest and brightest ever seen for a lunar impact.

"At that moment, I realised that I had seen a very rare and extraordinary event," Madiedo told the society.

Madiedo and colleagues calculate that the rock had a mass of around 400 kilos (1,000 pounds), with a diameter of between 60 centimetres (two feet) and 1.40 metres (56 inches).


Kiev: Ousted president Viktor Yanukovich has been placed on Ukraine's wanted list for mass murder, the acting interior minister said on Monday on his Facebook profile.

"An official case for the mass murder of peaceful citizens has been opened," Arsen Avakov wrote on Facebook. "Yanukovich and other people responsible for this have been declared wanted."

Yanukovich, 63, fled the capital Kiev by helicopter on Friday amid a revolt against his rule after three days of conflict in which more than 80 people were killed. He was in the pro-Russian Crimea region late on Sunday night, Avakov said.

Since Friday night he has zig-zagged, with his head of administration Andriy Klyuev, from Kiev to Kharkiv in the east, then on to his stronghold in Donetsk where border guards stopped him from flying out. Then he went on to the Crimean peninsula.

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