Sunday, 17 February, 2019

A Meteor Struck the Moon During the Total Lunar Eclipse

Ar 190129961 Photo: ‘Super blood wolf moon’ inks Durango skies
Frank Williams | 25 January, 2019, 22:13

This is not the first time an impact event has been recorded on the moon.

"I have not heard of anyone seeing an impact like this during a lunar eclipse before", said Sara Russell, a professor of planetary sciences at the Natural History Museum in London.

Madiedo and his research colleagues had been hoping for years to observe a meteorite impact during a lunar eclipse, so during this latest eclipse the team had double the number of telescopes (8, up from 4) pointed at different areas of the moon. As the moon often takes on a reddish tone during a total lunar eclipse, the celestial event on Sunday was dubbed a super wolf blood moon.

Such a scene has been long-sought by astronomers, but proved elusive until now, even with the frequency of lunar eclipses.

"We employ an array of telescopes endowed with high-sensitivity cameras that monitor the lunar surface in order to detect these events", Madiedo told ABC News.

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This image from video provided by Griffith Observatory shows an impact flash on the moon during the lunar eclipse.

The Moon Impacts Detection and Analysis System, or MIDAS, telescopes that Madiedo used have high-sensitivity video cameras, which are flawless at capturing these split-second events. According to Madiedo's preliminary estimates, it was probably only around 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) in mass, and about the size of a football. "I was exhausted when the eclipse ended-but when the automatic detection software notified me of a bright flash, I jumped out of my chair". We were somewhat lucky last weekend's impact happened during totality, and with dozens of cameras trained on the Moon.

Multiple telescope feeds captured the impact during the January 21 eclipse, with footage showing a bright pinpoint of light appearing on the lunar surface for fraction of a second.

The event was the result of a supermoon combined with a lunar eclipse.

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