In case you hadn’t seen the onslaught of photographs on social media over the past couple of days, we recently experienced a blood moon lunar eclipse. The total eclipse was visible from North and South America, Europe and western Africa. Central and eastern Africa, as well as Asia, got to see a partial eclipse.
But one lucky astronomer, Jose Maria Madiedo, got to see something that nobody’s ever captured on camera before. An asteroid hitting the Moon’s surface during an eclipse. You can see the video of the event above.
Madiedo has spent more than a decade pointing telescopes and cameras at the Moon during eclipses, hoping to record just such an event. And now he has. It’s a very quick, brief bright flash in the top left corner of the frame, which impacted the moon at 4:31 am UTC on January 21st (11:41 pm Eastern on the 20th), during the totality phase of the eclipse.
He’s part of a project called the Moon Impacts Detection and Analysis System (MIDAS), created in 2009 to monitor and identify the flashes produced by the impact of meteoroids on the surface of the Moon.
Gizmodo reports that the team haven’t analysed the data yet, but their early guess is that the object had a mass of around 10kg (22lbs).
How did your eclipse photos turn out? Did you see the meteor impact?