Monday, December 20, 2010

Lunar Eclipse AND the Winter Solstice

From the Los Angeles Times:

"The moon will be shadowed by the Earth starting late Monday and into Tuesday morning, the first such eclipse in nearly three years.  The event can be seen from anywhere in North America.

Weather permitting, observers will see the moon enter the Earth's inner shadow, or umbra, at 10:33 p.m., with a red-brown shadow creeping across the bright moon. This shadow has a curved edge, a fact that was taken as proof to at least some ancients that the Earth is round. The sky will get darker as the shadow progresses across the moon, and more stars will be visible as sunlight reflected from the moon fades.

Unlike during a total solar eclipse, when the sun is blotted out, in a lunar eclipse the moon rarely appears black.  Because of sunrises and sunsets around the world that scatter and refract light from the sun, the moon generally appears bright and coppery orange, or sometimes brown or dark red-black, depending on how much pollution is in the atmosphere."

And from

"It is extremely rare for the two events [a lunar eclipse and the winter solstice] to take place on the same date.  The last such occurrence took place on Dec. 21, 1638, though this was only at the Greenwich meridian, according to  In the Americas, the eclipse fell on the evening of Dec. 20, 1638 with the solstice following the next day.

The next time the two events pair up will occur on Dec. 21, 2094."

Okay!  The telescope is set up and we're ready!

Maybe I should go have some more caffeine...
It may be a long night!   Haha

Lucky Dog    J

1 comment:

  1. It was a great event. We got to experience most of it. Although, the cloud cover came right before the shadow start to exit the surface of the moon. But what a fun time I had with my daughter and her friend!