A meteor hits during the blood moon eclipse! - CBBC Newsround

A meteor hits during the blood moon eclipse! - CBBC Newsround

There are other kinds of possible lunar eclipses, such as a partial eclipse (which happens when the moon goes partially into the deep shadow) and a penumbral eclipse (when the moon passes into the lighter part of Earth's shadow, barely darkening at all).

Jose Maria Madiedo, an astronomer working on the Moon Impacts Detection and Analysis System (MIDAS) project, shared a YouTube video of the event, saying the images "correspond to a lunar impact flash spotted by the telescopes operating in the framework of the MIDAS survey on [January] 21".

A meteor has hit the moon!

The MIDAS team released a video of the rare event with a timecode of when the flash can be seen. The meteoroid that struck the moon last weekend would have been traveling faster (a minimum of about 12 km/s), but the best guess is that this rock might have been of suitable size to have fit in the back of a pickup truck, or thereabouts. Their software immediately logs the flashes and identifies their exact location on the lunar surface to an accuracy of about 0.001 seconds. To take advantage of the three-plus-hour eclipse, he set up four extra telescopes in addition to the four he operates at the observatory in Seville. "I was really, really happy when [it did]". "I did not want to miss any potential impact event", he explained in an email.

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It was decided that what was recorded during the total lunar eclipse was, in fact, a meteorite impact on the surface of the moon.

Meteorite impacts happen all the time, Madiedo said, but they aren't easy to record for MIDAS, which requires the moon to be dark so that the white flash is visible - usually during the 10 days around a new moon.

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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