A Meteorite Struck the Moon During Monday's Lunar Eclipse

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Although meteoroids have been filmed hitting the Moon before, lunar eclipses are often too bright.

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. The MIDAS project uses data from several astronomical observatories throughout the country to track flashes on the moon's surface and gather information about the rate of lunar impacts, which in turn can tell astronomers about the frequency of impacts in the Earth's atmosphere.

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


The epic sight was captured for the first time by Jose Maria Madiedo of the University of Huelva's Moon Impacts Detection and Analysis System. According to Madiedo's preliminary estimates, it was probably only around 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) in mass, and about the size of a football.

"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.

Millions of people around the world looked up at the sky in the early hours of Monday morning to witness the last total lunar eclipse of the decade.


Then computer software alerted him to the 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 jumped out of the chair I was sitting on".


Moon monitoring can help scientists better predict the rate of impacts, not just at the moon but on Earth, Madiedo noted.

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