It’s a bird. It’s a plane. Wait, it’s a meteorite hitting the moon?
Madiedo observed the meteorite flash through Spain's Moons Impacts Detection and Analysis System (MIDAS), which is run by the University of Huelva and the Institution of Astrophysics of Andalucia. The MIDAS project uses data from several astronomical observatories throughout the country to track flashes on the moon's surface and gather information about the rate of lunar impacts, which in turn can tell astronomers about the frequency of impacts in the Earth's atmosphere.
“We employ an array of telescopes endowed with high-sensitivity cameras that monitor the lunar surface in order to detect these events,” Madiedo told ABC News.
Meteorite impacts happen all the time, Madiedo said, but they aren't easy to record for MIDAS, which requires the moon to be dark so that the white flash is visible — usually during the 10 days around a new moon. He said that this lunar impact was significant because it was the first time astrophysicists in this field of research were able to record a lunar impact during a lunar eclipse.
The next lunar eclipse will only be a partial lunar eclipse, visible from South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia. It will occur on July 16.
As for another meteorite strike, those can occur at any time, but they’ll most likely require astronomers to release videos and pictures.