Too cool, part 39

Just a quick one here, but check out the Astronomy Picture of the Day from Friday. It features an image of a meteoroid striking the moon during the total phase of the lunar eclipse the other night. This is pretty lucky timing, because had it occurred during any phase that had full sunlight on that portion, it would have been too dim to see against the reflected light of the moon itself, save for perhaps very sensitive measuring equipment, and even if it had occurred in the dark region of a partial moon, exposure times for the photos would likely have been too brief to register it.

edited estimated image of total lunar eclipse by naked eyeAnd seeing it in person? Not very likely, unless you had at least a decent set of binoculars or a telescope and were paying close attention. I edited one of my frames of the total eclipse here to give a rough idea of what it looked like to the naked eye – of course, back away from the screen enough until you can hide it under your thumb to get a more accurate size estimate. The meteoroid, by the way, was estimated to be quite small, perhaps about melon-sized, and to have left a crater 7-10 meters in diameter, which is roughly the footprint of a smaller house. So actually pretty cool to have been visible at all from 800,000 kilometers away.

Yes, I looked through all of my images, and no, I did not get even a hint of it. I only had a few frames from the approximate time period that it occurred within, and most of those were too badly focused to have registered it anyway, even if the timing had been bang on. So, fame eludes me once again. Well, greater fame, anyway…

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