Science

Meteorite Slammed Into Moon at 38000 MPH During January's Lunar Eclipse

Meteorite Slammed Into Moon at 38000 MPH During January's Lunar Eclipse”

Total lunar eclipses occur when the moon moves completely into the shadow of the Earth, and then, the moon has a slightly red hue, said a Royal Astronomical Study press release.

The rare super wolf blood moon in January was caused partially by a lunar eclipse and saw the surface of the moon turn into a reddish hue.

From Jan. 20 to Jan. 21, observers noticed a bright flash in the sky when the object reportedly collided with the moon and generated a crater approximately 33 to 50 feet in diameter, Space.com reported.

The telescope system found the asteroid's impact flash only lasted 0.28 of a second.

Jose Maria Madiedo of the University of Huelv, who with Dr Jose L. Ortiz of the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia operate the Moon Impacts Detection and Analysis System (MIDAS) project.

Global view and a closer view of the meteoroid impact on the Moon observed and filmed during the January 21st, 2019 Moon eclipse.

Earth's atmosphere acts like a giant shield that shelters us not only from ultraviolet radiation that would otherwise roast our DNA but also destroys hunks of rock hurtling toward us.

The findings are in the Royal Astronomical Society's Monthly Notices.

"Something inside of me told me that this time would be the time", he said.

MIDAS was able to record the flash at multiple wavelengths (different colors of light), which means there is lots of data for scientists to analyze.

Since these impacts take place at huge speeds, the rocks get instantaneously vaporised at the impact, producing an expanding plume of debris whose glow can be detected from our planet as short-duration flashes. The space rock struck the Moon near the Lagrange H crater, which is near the southwestern limb, or visible edge, of the Moon.

The rocks were estimated to be 9,750 degrees Fahrenheit (5,400C), weighed about 45kg (100 lbs) in mass and roughly 30 to 60 centimetres (1ft to 2ft) across.

It hit with an energy impact as equivalent to 1.5 tonnes of TNT, creating a crater about the size of two double-decker buses side by side.

Reproducing these sorts of collisions in the lab is impossible which is why observations such as those performed by MIDAS are so important to science. "Observing flashes is a great way to test our ideas on exactly what happens when a meteorite collides with the Moon". When it struck the lunar surface, though, it was going nearly 38,000 miles per hour (61,000 kph), heated up to a temperature of 9,750 degrees Fahrenheit (5,400 degrees Celsius) and excavated a crater 33 to 50 feet in diameter.

The team plan to continue monitoring meteorite impacts on the lunar surface, not least to understand the risk they present to astronauts, set to return to the Moon in the next decade.



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