Every night we look up at the Moon, we see the scars it bears from millions of years worth of meteorite impacts. Even today, new impact craters are created. And during Sunday’s total lunar eclipse, one of these impacts was recorded across various livestreams.
This morning, Jose Maria Madiedo, an astronomer at the University of Huelva, confirmed that a meteorite was responsible for the quick flash as the eclipse was in totality. Here’s a screengrab courtesy of Madiedo’s Twitter.
A short video shows the impact flash quickly. Blink and you’ll miss it.
According to Madiedo the impact occurred at 11:41:38 pm EST. So, if you were capturing video through your telescope, go back through your footage – you probably caught it.
While flashes like the one above have been recorded before by MIDAS (Moon Impacts Detection and Analysis System), Sunday’s meteorite impact was the first during a lunar eclipse. Here’s an impact from 2015.
Cool, but you can’t beat the flash from Sunday. Seeing an impact while the Moon sinks into darker shades of red is so cool.
It didn’t take much to create that bright flash either. While a formal estimate of the meteorite size hasn’t happened, Madiedo tells New Scientist he believes it was about the size of a football.
A Reddit thread from yesterday first mentions the possibility of a meteorite impact. Users quickly scoured other footage from across the world and saw the same flash from California, Morocco, and Pennsylvania. It’s pretty cool seeing the same bright flash from different parts of the world at the same time.