In brief: Researchers believe that one of the meteoroids that impacted the moon during the most recent lunar eclipse was small in size but came in so fast that it generated a tremendous punch. The crater it left will likely be visible using lunar probes.
One of the first big astrological events of 2019, the Super Blood Wolf Moon lunar eclipse, took place on January 21. Already a somewhat rare occurrence, this particular lunar eclipse provided an unexpected treat as at least two meteoroids impacted the moon during the eclipse, producing visible flashes of light.
Researchers in a paper recently submitted to the journal Icarus estimate that the impact generated the same amount of energy at 0.9 – 1.8 tons of TNT. Further calculations peg the meteoroid’s size at between 30 – 50 cm, or around a foot to a foot and a half in diameter. They believe it could have weighed between 44 to 220 pounds.
That’s not a very large rock to generate that sort of energy (and a flash visible from Earth) until you consider the speed at which the impact occurred – nearly 31,000 miles per hour.
The researchers believe the impact could have left a crater between 22 to 50 feet across that may be visible to prospecting lunar probes.
Lead image via Sinn P. Photography courtesy Shutterstock