Sunday Blood Moon Comes With an Extra Treat

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Sunday Blood Moon Comes With an Extra Treat

Kaitlyn Bolling, Staff Writer

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As skywatchers enjoyed the weekends Sunday blood moon, some sharp-eyed observers noticed that for the first time ever, a meteorite smashed into the moon during the eclipse.
 On Sunday, January 20-21, 2019;  several organizations including the Griffin Observatory and the Virtual Telescope Project live streamed the Blood Moon the whole time and caught the meteorite crash at around 11 p.m. ET. The viewers noticed a brief flash of light in the top left quadrant of the moon during the stream and were amazed at the sight.
 An astronomer named Jose Maria Madiedo wrote, “The flash was produced by a rock (a meteoroid) that hit the lunar ground.” He and his team have been waiting a long time to catch a lunar impact but because of the moon’s brightness, it makes it difficult to capture the moment.
An eighth grader named Kelly Ochoa stated,” I didn’t think this was possible. In a way, it’s cool to see, but at the same time it’s dangerous to know it could happen to us too”. Many students agreed with her response as to say that even though it’s not very rare, it’s still a cool sight to see.
 Madiedo went over other explanations for the flash of light that included glares from satellites or high-energy radiation in space that can trip up telescope sensors, but they were soon all ruled out. Astronomers used MIDAS (short for Moon Impacts Detection and Analysis System) project to consulate data that collects observations from telescopes at three different observatories in Spain.
 When Madiedo and his team were trying to capture the rare phenomenon for years, they used four different telescopes to observe the moon from their observatory in Seville. Since they weren’t getting any feedback from MIDAS, Madiedo and his team undertook a huge effort and set up eight telescopes instead. This time it was a success and Madiedo’s effort paid off.
 Madiedo also said that even though its surprising to see the moon get whacked during a lunar eclipse, it’s not uncommon.
 2019 starts off great with this event and ends it by showing it one last time this year until the next total lunar eclipse will amaze us again on May 26, 2021.