Monday, December 20, 2010

Rare Total Lunar Eclipse during Winter Solstice Tonight!

Credit: Beautiful picture taken by Jim Fakatselis during a Total Lunar Eclipse
A rare event is happening tonight. The Total Lunar Eclipse during the Winter Solstice begins Monday Night at 10:33pm PST and Tuesday at 1:33am EST. The last Total Lunar Eclipse during the Winter Solstice was in 1638!  A whooping 372 years ago. Wowsers!

This is a unique moment  you don't want to miss. So if you have a chance to checkout this spectacular occasion, do so. Hopefully it will be visible in your part of the world.

Fun Fact:
The Next  Total Lunar Eclipse during a Winter Solstice will be 372 years from now.  The Next Total Lunar Eclipse will occur on April 15, 2014.

What is a Lunar Eclipse?
This event occurs when the Sun, Earth and moon are in an alignment. The Lunar eclipse can only happen during a full moon.  As the total Lunar Eclipse occurs the moon will appear as a red and orange hue.

  (click to see animation)
Credit:Animated picture from Wikipedia December 2010 lunar eclipse
 The picture above shows the moon passing through the earth's shadow called the the umbra and penumbra.  The Sun, Earth, and the Moon is in alignment.

The Umbra is the darkest part of the Earth's shadow, where complete darkness and no radiant light occurs. When you see the moon in the umbra stage it is known as a Total Eclipse.

The Penumbra is Earth's partially lit shadow casting on the moon.  This is also known as a Partial Eclipse.

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