Science

Meteorite strikes moon during 'super blood wolf moon' eclipse

Meteorite strikes moon during 'super blood wolf moon' eclipse

During a total lunar eclipse, the Moon appears about ten thousand times dimmer than usual, so seeing the bright flash of the impact is much easier.

Millions around the world were enraptured by the incredible lunar display on Monday but only a small handful managed to catch the moment a meteor struck the "super blood wolf moon".

Skywatchers who observed the "Super Blood Wolf Moon", a total lunar eclipse that coincided with a supermoon, were able to witness an incredible addition to their spectacular view that night - a meteorite impact.

"A rock hits the moon during the total eclipse", Madiedo tweeted on the morning of January 22.




Madiedo observed the meteorite flash through Spain's Moons Impacts Detection and Analysis System, also known as MIDAS, which is run by the University of Huelva and the Institution of Astrophysics of Andalucia. Their software immediately logs the flashes and identifies their exact location on the lunar surface to an accuracy of about 0.001 seconds. Lunar meteorite impacts have been filmed previously; this marks the first time one was filmed during a total lunar eclipse. The telescopes used by MIDAS have high-sensitivity video cameras that are used to continuously record events during observations.

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

In a description of the eclipse written on the Virtual Telescope website before the event, Masi said the aim was to share with viewers "the stunning beauty of such a unique event".

A livestream feed from Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles shows the flash, which happened at the height of the eclipse.


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