Moonwatchers Treated To Total Lunar Eclipse
First Lunar Eclipse Solstice Combo Since 1638
The last time a lunar eclipse occurred on the winter solstice, astronomer Galileo Galilei was languishing under house arrest for suggesting the Earth circled the sun. Now, for the first time since 1638, the moon will once again cloak itself in the Earth’s shadow on the winter solstice – the shortest day of the year and the official beginning of winter in the Northern Hemisphere, reports National Geographic. The eclipse began at 1:33 a.m. ET, when the Earth’s shadow began taking a “bite” out of the lunar cheese. The total eclipse commenced at 2:41 a.m., peaking at 3:17 and finishing at around 5:00 a.m. ET. North Americans had a good view this time around if they were willing to pull themselves out of bed in the early hours. The next lunar eclipse with good viewing from the States will occur in 2014, though stargazers eager for the next eclipse during a winter solstice will have to wait until Dec. 21, 2094. If you missed it, you can watch a video here.
Read original story in National Geographic | Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2010
Skywatchers got an early holiday present this year: A total eclipse of the moon.
Hanging high in the sky, the moon slowly turned from bright silver into a red disk early Tuesday.
That Total Eclipse of the Moon: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2010/12/21/132227348/that-total-eclipse-of-the-moon-did-you-see-it-heres-what-it-looked-like