Meteorite strikes moon during full lunar eclipse

Pablo Tucker
January 25, 2019

The event, which saw the Moon turn a distinctive shade of red, was the result of a supermoon combined with a lunar eclipse. It was the first time it has been captured on film during a total lunar eclipse, they said.

In the video, the lunar impact flash was spotted on the top-left half of the moon at 0441 GMT on January 21 and was captured by telescopes operating in the framework of Spain's Moons Impacts Detection and Analysis System (MIDAS) Survey. This weekend's lunar eclipse, the Super Blood Wolf Moon was visible to a large portion of the population, and many, many cameras were trained on the Moon. A luminous full moon is anathema to such detections, but a total lunar eclipse, painting the moon in darkness, changed that. Then, some sharp-eyed telescope observers noticed a flash of extracurricular activity when a meteoroid created a bright pinpoint of light on the lunar surface.


Madiedo and his team have been hoping to capture a lunar impact for some time, but normally the brightness of the Moon makes it very hard.

The impact has been captured on video for the first time in history during a total lunar eclipse. This "blood moon" eclipse is the last for North America until 2022, so Space.com's Steve Spaleta has compiled a video supercut of the imagery from one of the webcast feeds of the eclipse. No formal calculations on the size of the meteorite that hit the moon have been made, but Madiedo thinks the object was about two kilograms and roughly the size of a football.


The impact occurred during the totality phase of the eclipse at 11:41 p.m. ET, Gizmodo reported.

The roughly 37.9 million-square-kilometer surface of the moon is hit by an estimated 2,800kg of meteor material (rock and ice) each day. "We also monitor during lunar eclipses, since during these eclipses the lunar ground is dark".


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