Bright flash shows object slamming into moon during lunar eclipse


Lunar impacts are common, but what makes this one so fun is the sheer number of telescopes turned toward the moon for eclipse observations.

Robert Massey at the Royal Astronomical Society said, "The combination of a darkened surface and a lot of people watching made it much more likely that the flash of impact was seen - and it reminds us that the solar system is still a very dynamic place". After some sleuthing, the original poster and others were able to find the bright flash in several videos from streams taken by different observatories. Their software immediately logs the flashes and identifies their exact location on the lunar surface to an accuracy of about 0.001 seconds. This alignment causes light from the Sun to be refracted, making the Moon appear to be a reddish color.

This is the first lunar eclipse in 2019 and happened at a time when the moon was also closest to the Earth.

Madiedo set up extra telescopes for the eclipse, and says he jumped out of his chair when he learned an impact was seen.

"I did not want to miss any potential impact event", he said in an email.

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Jose Madiedo works in the Department of Experimental Sciences at the University of Huelva in Spain, and he confirmed that there was indeed an impact during the eclipse.

"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.

An aircraft passes the full moon as the lunar eclipse begins in Germany. "I was really exhausted when the eclipse was over".

"I was really, really happy when this happened", Madiedo told New Scientist.

A cherry moon in a cold sky kept skywatchers looking up Sunday (Jan. 20) as the moon passed into Earth's shadow. Astroimager Jamie Cooper, from Dustin, England, caught an meteor impact on the moon.