Astronomy & Space

A meteoroid crashes on eclipse-darkened moon – Astronomy Now

A meteoroid crashes on eclipse-darkened moon – Astronomy Now
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An image of the moon taken in the middle of the January entire eclipse reveals a small flash indicating a high-speed affect by a small meteoroid. Image: Jonathan Ospina, Mauricio Gaviria, Sergio López, Observatorio LaLoma, Colombia

All through the 21 January entire lunar eclipse, newbie {{and professional}} skywatchers on both sides of the Atlantic seen a small flash near the moon’s darkened limb, the plain affect of a small meteoroid.

“Something like this probably did not happen since the 12th century when a group of English monks observed together what they described as fire, hot flashes and sparks,” said Pablo Cuartas, co-founder of the Astronomy undergraduate program on the School of Antioquia. “Although on this occasion the impact did not have the energy of the middle-age impact, it was enough for astronomers and enthusiasts of the world to get excited about the event.”

Combining observations from newbie astronomers and observatories in Morocco, the Dominican Republic and Colombia, researchers calculated the impactor potential had a diameter between 10 and 27 centimetres (0.three and .9 ft) and a mass of seven to 40 kilograms (15 to 99 kilos).

Hitting the lunar flooring at spherical 47,000 kilometres per hour (28,000 mph), the merchandise potential blasted out a crater some 5 to 10 metres (16 to 33 ft) all through. The researchers initially calculated the impactor’s diameter at as a lot as 50 centimetres (1.eight ft), which could have produced the ability equal of as a lot as 1.eight tons of TNT. The conclusions have been updated after solutions from totally different observers world large.

“Social networks and easy access to technology, have brought humanity closer than ever to science,” said Karls Peña, a member of the Dominican Astronomical Society and a co-author of a paper describing the observations.

“Efforts like this, in which professionals and amateurs from different places work together for the advancement of human knowledge, are a very effective way to awaken interest in scientific research in our youngsters.”

The employees moreover used a technique usually generally known as gravitational ray tracing, developed by Jorge Zuluaga, an astronomer on the School of Antioquia, and his then-doctoral pupil Mario Sucerquia, to seek out out the general path the impactor received right here in from and its velocity. Whereas the physique was too small to achieve definitive conclusions, the employees believes the tactic is perhaps useful in future observations.

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