Lunar Eclipse December 20-21?

A spectacular show could unveil on December 20. A total eclipse of the moon will take place in the night of December 20 and early morning hours of December 21, 2010, which is also the winter solstice.

A lunar eclipse happens when the moon passes through the shadow of the Earth, an event that occurs twice a year, although most of them are not total.

A total lunar eclipse is a slow, sedate, unusual event when the moon enters the Earth's shadow, an hour of perfect alignment when the Earth glides between the sun and the moon, blocking any sunlight from illuminating the moon's surface in the night sky.

When was the last time that we had a total lunar eclipse occur on the same calendar date as the winter solstice?

asked by Amy in Astronomy & Space | 2844 views | 12-19-2010 at 05:57 AM

On Dec. 21, 1638, the full moon was in total eclipse from 1:12 to 2:47 UT. And the solstice occurred later in the day at 16:05 UT.

Before and after the total eclipse, the moon will pass through the Earth's outer shadow, the penumbra, which blocks some of the sun.

The total phase of the eclipse will last 72 minutes, then the moon will begin to emerge from the umbra, coming totally out of the inner shadow at 2:01 a.m.

The lunar eclipse will be visible in the region covering Europe, West Africa, America, the Pacific Ocean, eastern Australia, the Philippines and eastern and northern Asia.

answered by Bruce | 12-19-2010 at 05:58 AM

The next lunar eclipse will be on June 16th in 2011, it will be the almost perfect opposite of this week's eclipse with no visibility in North America and the best view in other parts of the world.

answered by Guest | 12-19-2010 at 07:40 PM

North and Central America should be able to view the entire show, which is expected to last 3 1/2 hours if skies are clear.

answered by Guest | 12-19-2010 at 07:46 PM

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