Monday, December 20, 2010

Totally Hot Lunar Eclipse plans rendezvous with Frigid Winter Solstice! And you can watch.

   A total lunar eclipse in 2003. Photo courtesy of Jim Fakatselis and NASA

Unlike all the silly space hoaxes floating on the Internet this "Tell  all your friends" event is real and should be beautiful! So trudge outside for a view of a coppery red moon shining down on fields of snow between 2:41 and 3:55 a.m. EST in the wee hours of Tuesday morning. (December 21st). According to the good folks at NASA Science, "For 72 minutes of eerie totality, an amber light will play across the snows of North America, throwing landscapes into an unusual state of ruddy shadow."  You've got to love poetic and descriptive writing like that from NASA. More facts: The actual eclipse starts at 1:33 a.m. At that moment the shadow of Planet Earth will appear as a dark-red bite on our lunar disc. It will take about one hour for the bite to expand enough to swallow the entire moon! Note:  As one who believes in science in decision making, I do not think our moon is really made of cheese.  But the moon will be 'swallowed' just the same.

And if you only want a quick peek in the cold before heading back to warm sheets, here's a tip: Set your alarm for 3:17 a.m. EST. At that very moment our moon will be in the deepest shadow of the eclipse and will be displaying her best shades of coppery red!  And don't forget that this eclipse also marks the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year and official start of winter. The last time these two celestial events had a heavenly encounter was in the year 1638! This will be quite the reunion after an absence of 372 years.  Log onto  http://www.spaceweather.com/  for real time coverage  including live webcasts, observation tips and a scientific look at the connection between lunar eclipses and our Earth's climate.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for the tip.. I'm usually not asleep anyway.. will give me something to do tomorrow night...

December 20, 2010 at 8:14 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am there . . .no better way to welcome in Winter!

December 20, 2010 at 7:32 PM 

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