Enjoying EarthSky? Subscribe.

254,376 subscribers and counting ...

Round object crosses the moon

During Friday’s penumbral eclipse of the moon, an observer in Puerto Rico captured images of a black disk moving across the moon’s face.

Image taken during the February 10, 2017 penumbral lunar eclipse by Luis G. Verdiales.

As observers around the planet were capturing images of Friday’s penumbral eclipse, one photographer saw something unusual: a round object crossing in front of the moon. Luis G. Verdiales from Loiza, Puerto Rico said:

I was using a 125mm telescope to capture the penumbral lunar eclipse when the black disk appeared. It was moving too slowly to be a satellite, so slowly that I was able to capture it with my camera four times. It got my attention because it was round!

Whole-moon image of taken during the February 10, 2017 penumbral lunar eclipse by Luis G. Verdiales.

Verdiales contacted the Caribbean Island’s largest astronomy organization – Sociedad de Astronomía del Caribe – to find out what it was. This group then found the answer:

After analysing magnified images, we suspected it might be a stratosphere balloon from Google Loon, a project that is testing internet coverage from the stratosphere. We verified FlightRadar24.com and found a balloon at 64,400 ft identified as HBAL176.

Further analysis showed the balloon was right between the observer and the moon.

Read more at the website of Sociedad de Astronomía del Caribe

Composite image of the 4 photos captured by Luis G. Verdiales, showing the object’s movement in front of the moon on February 10. Photos by.

Bottom line: The round object crossing in front of the moon during the February 10, 2017 lunar eclipse turned out to be a stratospheric balloon from Google Loon.

More photos from February 10-11 penumbral lunar eclipse

Eddie Irizarry

MORE ARTICLES