The total lunar eclipse, along with the super moon and full moon created a spectacular sight on Sunday January 20th into the morning of the 21st. A second flash was seen a minute after the first by some observers, said Anthony Cook, an astronomical observer at Griffith. During a total lunar eclipse, the Moon appears about ten thousand times dimmer than usual, so seeing the bright flash of the impact is much easier. Their software immediately logs the flashes and identifies their exact location on the lunar surface to an accuracy of about 0.001 seconds. The meteoroid that struck the moon last weekend would have been traveling faster (a minimum of about 12 km/s), but the best guess is that this rock might have been of suitable size to have fit in the back of a pickup truck, or thereabouts.
A view of the blood moon next to the "Tiger and Turtle" landmark during the first total lunar eclipse of the year in Duisburg, Germany, Jan. 21, 2019.
The Impact of a small meteorite on the moon is generally hard to spot from the Earth as the ephemeral flash of light is often outshined by the bright moon light.
But Jose Maria Madiedo of the University of Huelva's Moon Impacts Detection and Analysis System (MIDAS) program in Spain wasn't leaving anything to chance this time. "But I made the extra effort to prepare the new telescopes because I had the feeling that this time would be 'the time, ' and I did not want to miss an impact flash".
"I could not sleep for nearly two days, setting up and testing the extra instruments, and performing the observation during the night of January 21", he wrote.
"I was very, very happy when it happened", says Madedo. Astroimager Jamie Cooper, from Dustin, England, caught an meteor impact on the moon. The meteor strike takes place in the region darkened by Earth's shadow, as seen in the video.