If you looked up on Sunday night, you might have spotted a “blood moon,” also known as a lunar eclipse. Millions around the world enjoyed the sight of the moon slowly turning dark and then red over several hours during the weekend, but a few extremely sharp-eyed viewers noticed something more: During the eclipse, the moon apparently took a hit from a small meteorite.
The meteorite collision was even spotted by at least one observer watching the eclipse from their backyard. This person wasn’t sure if the brief flash of light they spotted was some sort of local phenomenon or something actually impacting the moon, so they checked with two live broadcasts from different locations around the world, in Morocco and California. Sure enough, that flash of light showed up in both live streams, meaning it really did happen on the moon.
Picking up the impact was not easy, because the meteorite itself was extremely small. It’s likely that the rock only weighed a few dozen pounds, and it was likely not moving very fast. The impact itself showed up as a small flash of light for only an instant, and if you blink you completely miss it.
Despite these challenges, multiple people managed to capture photos and videos of the event, and over the next few days we’ll likely learn much more about this tiny meteorite and the other tiny meteorites like it. These objects are way too small for us to pick up with our telescopes, so the only way we get to learn more about them is when they hit things in a way that we notice. Thanks to this collision, we’ll get to learn more about what kind of tiny rocks are out there and how often they crash into our solar system’s planets and moons.
Originally posted on Popular Mechanics