Moon

Meteorites spotted colliding with moon during lunar eclipse

Diagram showing meteorite impact on moon
Photo of the lunar eclipse on Jan. 20 along with the meteorite impact flash in the inset. Photo: Christian Fröschlin

While many of you gazed at the total lunar eclipse on Jan. 20, you probably had no idea you were witnessing something unprecedented. Amateur astronomer Christian Fröschlin of the Netherlands peered up at the skies, and along with some others around the world, he caught a quick glimpse of a bright flash on a corner of the reddish-tinted moon.

Why it matters: While scientists have observed meteorite collisions on the moon before, this appears to be a first to be observed during a total lunar eclipse. According to Nadia Drake, reporting for Scientific American, the moon gets hit on a daily basis by what are typically small meteorites. (Unlike Earth, the moon lacks an atmosphere where such rocks can burn up before hitting the ground.)

In photos: Sunday's super blood wolf moon eclipse

A Super Blood Moon is above a mineshaft in Dortmund, western Germany during a lunar eclipse
A super blood moon is above a mineshaft in Dortmund, western Germany. Photo: Bernd Thissen/AFP/Getty Images

The moon, Earth and sun lined up last night in a full eclipse — the last until 2021.

Why it matters: During totality, the moon looked red because of sunlight scattering off Earth's atmosphere — a blood moon. And in January, the full moon is also sometimes known as the wolf moon or great spirit moon, the AP reports.

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