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From Deniz Chow
Total lunar eclipse astonished heaven observers during the weekend, but for some observers with unsaturated eyes, the "blood moon" on Sunday came with extra special treatment: a familiar observation of a meteorite breaking into the moon during a lunar eclipse.
The eclipse that happened overnight on January 20-21
Jose Madido, an astronomer at the University of Huelva in Spain, says that the glare is caused by a meteorite that has hit the moon surface since the Moon has been completely absorbed in the shadow of the Earth, a phase during an eclipse known as integrity.
This is the first time in the history of astronomy that the moon blow [was] was recorded during a lunar eclipse, Madiedo told NBC News MACH in an email.
Several watchers with an eagle also noticed the flash, with one Reddit user on Monday publishing screensavers of the incident from three different online shows.
Madiedo said he was careful to exclude other explanations of light that could cause "false positives," including glare from satellites or high-energy radiation in space that could damage telescope sensors. Astronomers have consulted data from the MIDAS (Moon Impacts Detection and Analysis System) project, which gathers observations from telescopes in three different observatories in Spain.
MIDAS is able to confirm the flash and its exact location on the Moon by anyone. of the three observatories, Maddoo said, adding that he had tried to capture this rare phenomenon for years without success. for the eclipse of this weekend, he said the team had "made a tremendous effort" to create eight telescopes instead.
"I was very surprised when the software that scans the images to detect these events let me know we have an impact," he said. "But I was also very happy and excited to see that, after all, the effort was rewarded."
It is not yet known what caused the impact, but Maddo said that by studying these waves astronomers can improve their statistics of how often the moon is flooded with space rocks and other space objects.
And although it may be surprising to see an object hit the Moon during a lunar eclipse, it's not unusual for the moon to be hit. Randy Korotev, a moon geochemist at Washington University in St. Louis, has these effects on the moon.
"I am not surprised that they may have seen any impact," Korotev said in an e-mail.
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