February 21, 2019

Impact on the Moon during the total lunar eclipse

25 January 2019, 04:01 | Dale Webster

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

Photo: ‘Super blood wolf moon’ inks Durango skies

Software analyzing the videos identified the lunar impact flash and determined its position on the moon.

While this might not quite be the catastrophic event you are picturing in your head, it's potentially the first time that a meteorite impact has ever been recorded happening during an eclipse.

Close study of the available videos and high-resolution images has shown that the impact occurred at 04:41 Coordinated Universal Time just before totality began.

But Jose Maria Madiedo of the University of Huelva's Moon Impacts Detection and Analysis System (MIDAS) program in Spain wasn't leaving anything to chance this time.

Durango-area residents were treated to a rare celestial event Sunday night known as a "super blood wolf moon" lunar eclipse.

A blood moon is another name given to a total lunar eclipse, which happens when the Earth moves in between the sun and the moon.

Madiedo said lunar impact monitoring generally is conducted five days before and after a new moon, when flashes can be easily observed.

He doubled the number of telescopes the program usually has pointed at the Moon - from four to eight - and crossed his fingers.

After analyzing the recordings from the total lunar eclipse, the team realized they had filmed a meteor hitting the surface of the Moon. Then, some sharp-eyed telescope observers noticed a flash of extracurricular activity when a meteoroid created a bright pinpoint of light on the lunar surface. "I was really, really happy".

Such a scene has been long-sought by astronomers, but proved elusive until now, even with the frequency of lunar eclipses. "I did not want to miss any potential impact event", he explained in an email. "It was a very exciting moment because I knew such a thing had never been recorded before".

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