Crap, Moon Struck by Meteorites during Eclipse & # 39; Super Wolf Blood Moon & # 39;



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Meteorites hit the Moon during Monday's eclipse, causing brief, bright flashes on the surface.
Image: Jose M. Madiedo / MIDAS

If you were not successful at first, try and try again. That's the philosophy of Jose Maria Madiedo, an astronomer at Huelva University in Spain, who, for more than 10 years, has tried to capture meteorites that hit the Moon during a lunar eclipse. Yesterday, during what was called "Super Blood Wolf Blood Moon," it finally happened.

The highly anticipated eclipse of Super Blood Wolf Moon on Monday, despite its bad name, did not disappoint. Millions of people stare at the night sky or into video feeds to see the golden red hue that surrounds our planet's natural satellite. However, when the January 21 eclipse took place, some observers saw small flashes while watching online broadcasts, reports New Scientist. Some suspect the flash was caused by a meteorite attack – and it turned out to be true.

Display near the impact of flash.
Image: Jose M. Madiedo / MIDAS

Jose Madiedo confirmed this suspicion, tweeting that the lunar effect took place at 5:41 in the morning of the Spanish Peninsula. A photo released by Madiedo clearly shows a yellowish white spot appearing in the upper left quadrant of the Moon during the eclipse totality phase. Astronomers have recorded lightning impacts in the previous Moon, but this marks the first time the impact of the moon has been captured during a lunar eclipse – an achievement of more than 20 years in its manufacture.

Astronomers first began to systematically monitor impact flashes in 1997, efforts that developed into the Moon Impact Analysis and Detection System, or MIDAS, a survey conducted by the Huelva University and the Andalucian Astrophysics Institute. Madiedo joined the project in 2008. Using astronomical data from several observatories, MIDAS uses software to identify when meteorites hit the dark surface of the moon.

"We monitor the nocturnal region of the Moon to identify the effects of flashes. In this way, this flash contrasts with a darker background, "Madiedo explained to Gizmodo. "So, we usually monitor the Moon about five days after the New Month, and about five days before the New Moon. We also monitor during the lunar eclipse, because during this eclipse the land is dark."

The telescope used by MIDAS is equipped with a high-sensitivity video camera and continuous video recording during observation sessions. These videos are then analyzed by software, which automatically identifies the impact of the moon explosion and calculates its position on the Moon. Madiedo said the system can detect moments from lightning impacts to an accuracy of around 0.001 seconds. Since 2015, the team has applied photometric filters to several of their telescopes, allowing them to determine the temperature of these bursts.

As noted, MIDAS (before yesterday) never caught a meteorite attack during a total lunar eclipse – but it was not due to lack of effort. Madiedo said he did not know the exact number of eclipses that MIDAS had monitored to date, but, if weather permits, he said every lunar eclipse had been monitored since the survey began. Other groups also tried to detect flashes of the moon during the eclipse, said Madiedo, but nothing worked – until now.

"When the automatic detection software tells me about a bright flash, I jump from my seat."

Usually, Madiedo's team uses four telescopes to monitor the Moon, but this time they decided to use eight. Sufficient work is needed to prepare and test new instruments.

"In total I spent almost two days without sleep, including the time of monitoring during the eclipse," Madiedo told Gizmodo. "But I made an extra effort to prepare a new telescope because I felt that this time it would be & # 39 ;, and I did not want to miss the effects of lightning. One instrument has a technical problem and fails. I was exhausted when the eclipse ended – but when the automatic detection software told me about the bright flash, I jumped out of the chair. It was a very pleasant moment because I knew something like that had never been recorded before. "

Madiedo said the possibility of the impact of a flash of this size every seven to 10 days. His team has not analyzed all the data, but the initial guess is that the object, possibly a small asteroid, has a mass of about 22 kilograms (10 kilograms).

By studying these flashes, scientists can obtain better statistics about the level of impact of the moon, and consequently the rate at which the Earth's atmosphere is pelted by objects of the same size.

On a related note, a recent study showed the level of impact of large asteroids on Earth increased by around 290 million years ago. This conclusion was achieved by studying the history of the impact of craters on the surface of the moon. Our moon may not look like Earth, but when it comes to heavenly effects, we have a shared history.

[New Scientist]

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