During the super blood wolf moon total lunar eclipse on Monday, cameras pointed at the moon captured the first known sighting of a meteorite slamming into the shadow-covered moon. This 24-second video of the impact was released by Jose Maria Madiedo at the University of Huelva in Spain.
New Scientist reports that discussion about a possible meteorite strike emerged after people watching live streams of the eclipse noticed a tiny and brief yellow-white flash on the moon’s surface.
Madiedo and his research colleagues had been hoping for years to observe a meteorite impact during a lunar eclipse, so during this latest eclipse the team had double the number of telescopes (8, up from 4) pointed at different areas of the moon.
After the eclipse, Madiedo confirmed that multiple telescopes had captured the same flash, which confirmed that the flash wasn’t some optical or electronic glitch that only appeared on one camera.
“The impact took place during the totality phase of the lunar eclipse,” Madiedo writes. “The flash was produced by a rock (a meteoroid) that hit the lunar ground.”
The astrophysicist tells New Scientist that he estimates the size of the meteorite to be about that of a football and the weight to be about 2 kilograms (4.4lbs).