Observers observing Jane's total lunar eclipse saw a rare event, a short-lived flash, when a meteorite struck the lunar surface. Spanish astronomers now believe that the space rock at 61,000 kilometers per hour collided with the moon and excavated a crater with a diameter of 10 to 15 meters. Prof. Jose Maria Madiedo from the University of Huelva and dr. Jose L. Ortiz of the Astrophysics Institute of Andalusia publishes its findings in a new paper in Monthly Bulletin of the Royal Astronomical Society .
Total lunar eclipses occur when the moon moves completely into the shadows of the earth. The moon takes on a red color – the result of scattered sunlight being broken by the earth's atmosphere – but is much darker than normal. These spectacular events are regularly observed by astronomers and the general public.
The last lunar eclipse took place on January 21, 2019, with observers in North and South America and Western Europe having the best view. Immediately after the start of the entire solar eclipse phase at 0441 GMT, lightning was observed on the lunar surface. Widespread reports by amateur astronomers indicated that the lightning, due to a meteor impact, was bright enough to be seen by the naked eye.
Madiedo and Ortiz operate the Moon Impacts Detection and Analysis System (MIDAS) with eight telescopes south of Spain to monitor the lunar surface. Video footage from MIDAS recorded the moment of impact.
The impact flash lasted 0.28 seconds and is the first movie to have been shot during a lunar eclipse despite a series of earlier attempts.
"Something in me told me that this time would be the time," said Madiedo, who was impressed as he watched the event, as it was brighter than most of the regular polls.
On Earth, the moon has no atmosphere to protect it, and even small stones can bump into the surface. As these blows occur at tremendous speeds, the rocks are vaporized immediately at the point of impact, forming an expanding cloud of debris whose glow can be perceived by our planet as short-duration flashes of wavelengths (various light colors), thereby improving the analysis of the event becomes. Madiedo and Ortiz conclude that the incoming rock had a mass of 45 kg, a diameter of 30 to 60 centimeters, and hit the surface at 61,000 kilometers per hour. The impact site is located near the Lagrange H crater, near the west-southwestern part of the lunar limb.
The two scientists estimate the impact energy equivalent to 1.5 tons of TNT, which is enough to create a crater up to 15 meters across or about the size of two double decker buses side by side. It is estimated that the ejected debris has reached a peak temperature of 5400 degrees Celsius, which roughly corresponds to the surface of the sun.
Madiedo comments, "It would be impossible to reproduce these high-speed collisions in a laboratory on Earth, and observing lightning is a great way to test our ideas of what exactly happens when a meteorite collides with the moon."  The team plans to continue monitoring meteor impacts on the lunar surface, not least to understand the risk they pose to astronauts. In the next decade, return to the moon.
Astronomers feel the record on the moon
"Multiple Wavelength Observations of a Bright Impact During the Total Lunar Eclipse in January 2019", JM Madiedo, JL Ortiz, N. Morales and P. Santos-Sanz, Monthly Communications of the Royal Astronomical Society Oxford University Press in the press. doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stz932, ras.ac.uk/sites/default/files/… adiedo% 20et% 20al.pdf
The space rock that hit the moon at 61,000 kilometers per hour (2019, April 30)
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