World first as meteorite captured crashing into Moon during rare lunar eclipse

Christopher Davidson
January 25, 2019

He said that this lunar impact was significant because it was the first time astrophysicists in this field of research were able to record a lunar impact during a lunar eclipse.

"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 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. Clear skies gave us a great view of a Total Lunar Eclipse and a Supermoon, A.K.A a Wolf Blood Moon. Thus, Sunday's eclipse provided ideal conditions for astronomers to observe. And the brilliant white light flashes associated with the impacts can often be seen from Earth. It got the nickname "Super Blood Wolf Moon" thanks to a combination of labels that may or may not have much meaning, but it was an undeniably cool sight nonetheless. He added that he and colleagues had for years hoped to observe a meteorite impact on the moon during a total lunar eclipse.

Although the impact produced quite a bright flash, the rock itself was probably not very large.

The size of the meteorite has yet to be confirmed, but Madiedo thinks it's about the size of a football, weighing about two kilograms.

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"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.

Capturing a lunar impact on video is rare enough, but capturing this event - a collision during a total lunar eclipse - was unique. "I was really exhausted when the eclipse was over".

Multiple telescope feeds captured the impact, which likely left behind a fresh crater on the pockmarked moon.

Skywatchers had plenty to be excited about this past weekend thanks to a lunar eclipse that was visible from the Americas as well as parts of Europe, Africa, and Asia. Other also shared eclipse footage for evidence of the event.

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