A Meteor Hit The Moon During Peak Of Lunar Eclipse
Last weekend, the Western Hemisphere was treated to a total Blood Moon lunar eclipse. Viewing in Michigan could not have better, apart from the sub-zero temperatures, as crystal clear skies allowed for great observation of the astronomical event.
But some very attentive viewers, or those with telescopes and binoculars, were potentially treated to something extra special. Apparently a meteor struck the surface of the moon near the peak of the eclipse at 11:41 pm EST. According to National Geographic, an "eagle-eyed" eclipse viewer on Reddit spotted a potential impact and reached out to the space community to see if anyone else had observed it. Several people responded saying they had seen a tiny flicker of light near the time of totality.
As people began sharing images and videos of it, scientists were at first skeptical of the claims. They believing it may have been pixel effects from cameras or some other kind of natural effect. But then they realized that every single image was showing the same thing, an apparent impact on the lunar surface.
Here is a video posted on YouTube by user Deep Sky Dude that shows the impact in real time, then zooms in and slows down gradually so you can see it yourself.
Scientists say the next step is gathering up the documented observations to study the event in full detail. They're hoping to capture an image of the moon's new crater.
“It's a rare alignment of infrequent events. A [meteoroid] about this size hits the moon about once a week or so. But if this event is confirmed, it may be the first time such an impact has been recorded during a lunar eclipse." Justin Cowart, Ph.D. candidate at Stony Brook University in New York to National Geographic