World / Science & Health

Telescopes capture moment of comet-rock impact on moon during eclipse

AP

Astronomers managed to capture the moment of an impact during this week’s eclipsed moon.

Spanish astrophysicist Jose Maria Madiedo of the University of Huelva said Wednesday it appears a rock from a comet slammed into the moon during the total lunar eclipse late Sunday and early Monday. The strike was seen by telescopes in Spain and elsewhere as a bright flash.

Madiedo says it’s the first impact flash ever seen during a lunar eclipse, although such crater-forming impacts are common.

He says the object hit at an estimated speed of 10 miles (17 km) per second, and was 22 pounds (10 kg) and 12 inches (30 cm) across.

Madiedo set up extra telescopes for the eclipse, and says he jumped out of his chair when he learned an impact was seen.