During the Last Lunar Eclipse, a Meteor Smacked the Moon in the Face at 38,000 Mph

When the moon went dark on January 21, 2019, it got smacked in the face by a rock taking a trip 38,000 miles per hour (61,000 km/h).

Credit: J. M. Madiedo/ MIDAS

On January 21, 2019, the moon passed completely into Earth’s shadow and, well, got smacked in the face quite hard.

Seconds after the overall stage of that night’s lunar eclipse started, a meteorite knocked into the moon’s surface area, triggering a quick however intense flash of light noticeable to amateur astronomers throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Expert astronomers were seeing too– and now, after months of studying effect video taken by a fleet of 8 telescopes in southern Spain, a group of scientists believes they understand simply how hard the moon got smacked, and what did the smacking. [Crash! 10 Biggest Impact Craters on Earth]

According to a brand-new research study released April 30 in the journal Regular Monthly Notification of the Royal Astronomical Society, the things that struck the moon on January 21 was likely a rogue meteoroid determining simply 1 to 2 feet in size (30 to 60 centimeters) and taking a trip at an incredible 38,000 miles per hour (61,000 km/h). This wee, fast rock most likely produced a fresh lunar crater determining some 50 feet (15 meters) throughout.

The group reached these price quotes after studying the quick effect flash– which lasted just 0.28 seconds– with the Moon Impacts Detection and Analysis System, or MIDAS telescopes. By studying the flash in a number of various wavelengths of light, the scientists approximated the effect’s temperature level to be about 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit (5,400 degrees Celsius), approximately the very same temperature level as the surface area of the s un

Based upon the temperature level and period of the flash, the group then determined the speed of the impactor, its size and weight (about 100 pounds. or 45 kgs) and the size of the crater it produced. The researchers likewise approximated that the energy of the blast was comparable to detonating about 1.65 lots of TNT (1500 kg) on our closest cosmic next-door neighbor.

These numbers are remarkable, however not uncommon According to a 2016 research study in the journal Nature, the moon’s pocked and split surface area gets about 140 brand-new craters determining a minimum of 33 feet (10 meters) throughout every year. Due to the fact that the moon has no environment, even the tiniest area rocks can make a considerable effect on the lunar surface area. Generally, nevertheless, conditions are too intense for astronomers to see those effects.

Capturing a lunar effect in the middle of an overall lunar eclipse is an uncommon occasion for scientists like the MIDAS group, who focus on studying these regular if unforeseeable occasions. Much better understanding lunar effects might assist protect the next wave of astronauts set to go back to the moon in the next years, the scientists composed in the research study.

Initially released on Live Science