During the darkness of Wednesday's lunar eclipse, George Varros of Mt. Airy, Maryland, observed a flash of light--a meteorite hitting the Moon. The small space rock exploded on impact in a southern bay of Oceanus Procellarum: Meteorites hitting the Moon? It happens surprisingly often. Since 2005, astronomers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center have recorded nearly one hundred lunar strikes. Meteoroids as small as a softball hurtling into the Moon at 100,000 mph produce flashes of light visible in backyard telescopes on Earth. Varros himself is a veteran observer of these "lunar meteors" using an 8-inch Celestron and digital video camera. This is, however, the first lunar meteor ever seen during an eclipse.
"We had very nice conditions in central Maryland for the lunar eclipse," says Varros, "and it was spectacular to say the least!"
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