A meteor hit & # 39; blood moon & # 39; during lunar eclipses: Get facts


On Sunday, January 20, viewers in the western hemisphere were treated to the rusty hue of the last decade's "blood moon" eclipse. But when the people on the planet watch the moon glow red, some fortunate observers capture unexpected excitement: a flash of space rock that attacks the moon's ball.

"This is a rare alignment of rare events," said Justin Cowart, Ph.D. candidate at Stony Brook University in New York. "A [meteoroid] about this size about the moon about once a week or more, "he said. But if this event is confirmed, it may be the first time such an impact has been recorded during the lunar eclipse.

Moon Eclipse 101

Dubbed the "blood moon," some ancient cultures regard the total lunar eclipse as an unpleasant event. Today, this
celestial phenomena produce excitement and miracles. Unlike solar eclipses, which may require a trip to see, a total lunar eclipse can often be observed from all night-half Earth. Learn what caused the lunar eclipse and how it obtained dark red coloring.

The eagle-eyed viewer on Reddit sees the potential impact during the eclipse and reaches out to the space community to see if other people can weigh. The news spread quickly on social media, when people from across the totality track post their pictures and videos from the blink of this little light.

Many scientists initially approached claims with the right skepticism. After seeing the buzz on Twitter, "I wonder if it might be a local effect, or maybe something with a camera," said planetary scientist Sara Mazrouei of the University of Toronto.

Flashes from weak collisions and short-lived, make it easily confused with the wrong pixels. But picture after picture shows the same thing: At 4:41 UT, when totality has just begun, a tiny speck of light glows in the south Byrgius crater, pockers are almost 55 miles wide in the western part of the month.

"They all seem to see the same bright pixel," Mazrouei said. This meeting pointed strongly at the flash of light that really had an impact.

"This is something that people around the world don't know they will register," said Noah Petro, a research scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

Try, try again

It's not just backyard astronomers and star scientists. Jose Maria Madiedo, an astrophysicist at Huelva University in Spain, is co-director of the Moon Impact Analysis and Detection System, MIDAS. He had worked overtime to get eight project telescopes trained in the moon during the eclipse to witness such events.

The MIDAS team usually explores the moon in search of faint flashes, signs of impact, to learn about the arrangement of space rocks that bombard our moon friends. But most of these events are too dim to be seen when the moon is full. The team did most of their observations in five days before and after the new month. However, an eclipse blinds the usually bright full moon light, giving another rare opportunity to see small flashes of light.

A close-up view of the dark face of the "blood moon" shows a flash of meteor impact.

So far, they have not managed to see the impact during the eclipse, but Madiedo did not lose hope: "Something in me told me that this time would be time." And of course, the business paid off.

"I got a very good prize," he said.

Make an impact

Scientists say the next step is to gather a lot of observations to study the event in detail, and hopefully capture a picture of the new moon crater.

"The Earth and the moon are so close that observing the effects on the moon can help us learn more about the frequency of impacts on Earth," explained Mazrouei, who recently wrote a study detailing ancient surges in the bombardment of large meteors. on the moon, and thus on our planet.

Even though the Earth's atmosphere protects us from many smaller space rocks enlarged through the solar system, incoming meteors can still affect the arrangement of satellites that surround the planet which are important for maintaining navigation, telecommunications, weather forecasts, and more humming on the surface.

And seeing the effects of smaller effects on the world without air such as the moon can help scientists learn about the effects of greater attacks on all types of the world – including our world, Madiedo said.

"By knowing what is happening with a smaller impact, you can know what can happen with greater impact without really studying the big impact on Earth."

Sweeping the moon

Finding a new crater on the surface of a pockmarked moon will require work. The spacecraft that is important for this process is NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). Launched in 2009, the orbiters stayed around our moon to study the surface with amazing details. So far, he has recorded hundreds of changes in the lunar landscape, including more than two dozen new impact craters.

LRO even has a history of finding craters after the initial report of the impact of flash. On March 17, 2013, researchers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center reported that they saw a similar faint light on the moon. By comparing the lunar surface images of the LRO camera trio before and after the event, scientists tracked the debris traces of the impact back to the associated crater.

For this latest event, the team in charge of the LRO cameras did not specifically target the craters in the sweep to the moon. The orbiter basically captures a random sample of the lunar surface so scientists can calculate the average number of impacts over time, explained Petro, who is a project scientist for LRO. Specifically targeting new craters will interfere with their statistical sampling.

However, researchers can work to narrow the location of the new crater – and find out more about the impact itself – and then explore the LRO data to see if it passes through the right part of the moon. Madiedo and his team worked to estimate energy and impact mass to help in calculating the size and position of the crater. Initial estimates indicate that the space rock was about the size of a football, and it left a crater about six miles long.

Stony Brook's Cowart also tried to narrow down the space rock hit using images from amateur astronomers Christian Fröschlin. He estimates that the crater is located around 29,47 south, 67,77 west. But accuracy is complicated; each pixel in the image represents an area of ​​about 2.5 miles.

"So, if I lose one pixel, then if we target that location, we can really lose the crater," he said.

Regardless of whether the plane finally caught a new crater, a series of events underlined the vital role that social media often overlooks in collecting data about natural phenomena, said Petro.

"I say go to the eclipse that this is really cool," he added. "This observation only strengthens how cool it is."


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