A Meteorite Struck the Moon During Monday's Lunar Eclipse

Photo: ‘Super blood wolf moon’ inks Durango skies

See a rock smack the moon during the super blood wolf eclipse

Lunar impacts are common, but what makes this one so fun is the sheer number of telescopes turned toward the moon for eclipse observations. And the brilliant white light flashes associated with the impacts can often be seen from Earth.

Madiedo says it's the first impact flash ever seen during a lunar eclipse, although such crater-forming impacts are common.

While he awaits a full data analysis, Madiedo estimates that the tiny asteroid had a mass of between 2kg and 10kg and was about the size of a football.

This still from the Griffith Observatory's eclipse livestream shows the moment of impact. "But I made the extra effort to prepare the new telescopes because I had the feeling that this time would be 'the time, ' and I did not want to miss an impact flash".

"I could not sleep for nearly two days, setting up and testing the extra instruments, and performing the observation during the night of January 21", he wrote. "I was really, really happy".

An awesome supercut video from The Virtual Telescope Project by astrophysicist Gianluca Masi in Ceccano, Italy showcases fantastic views of the Super Blood Wolf Moon lunar eclipse of January 20, 2019. "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".

"In total I spent nearly two days without sleeping, including the monitoring time during the eclipse", Madiedo explained to Gizmodo.

Moon monitoring can help scientists better predict the rate of impacts, not just at the moon but on Earth, Madiedo noted. Still, its impact was large enough to be spotted by observers as well as the automated MIDAS system, and that's pretty cool.

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