Watch an Asteroid Hit the Moon During a Lunar Eclipse

Ar 190129961

Ar 190129961

For the first time, astronomers and eclipse-watchers around the globe caught sight of a piece of space debris - most likely a meteoroid - slamming into the surface of the Moon as it passed through the shadow of Earth.

The super blood wolf moon eclipse was a wonder of nature which entraced the world - and sent apocalypse prophets into paroxysms of fear. José María Madiedo, an astronomer at the University of Huelva in Spain, and her colleagues, who have been monitoring lunar eclipses for years with the MIDAS (Moon Impacts Detection and Analysis System) network of telescopes while specifically look for impacts, said that it was definitely a meteorite.

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

Astronomer Jose Maria Madiedo has spent the last decade training his telescopes and cameras on the moon during lunar eclipses, hoping to capture just such an impact during such an event. 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.

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"In total I spent nearly two days without sleeping, including the monitoring time during the eclipse", Madiedo explained to Gizmodo. "I was really, really happy when [it did]".

The MIDAS team released a video of the rare event with a timecode of when the flash can be seen.

In a video from Griffith Observatory, the slam, visible as a brief, bright flash, occurs on the lower left part of the Moon while the scientists discuss the Moon's colour. So, we usually monitor the Moon about five days after the New Moon, and around five days before the New Moon.

Lunar impacts are common, but what makes this one so fun is the sheer number of telescopes turned toward the moon for eclipse observations. "It was a very exciting moment because I knew such a thing had never been recorded before".

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