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Watch Next Week for a Total Lunar Eclipse

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Watch Next Week for a Total Lunar Eclipse

Coming right on the heels of the annual Geminids meteor shower, sky watchers will be treated to a second visual treat this month. In the early morning hours of December 21, coincidentally the day of the winter solstice, observers throughout North America can see a full lunar eclipse.

A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon’s orbit passes briefly through the Earth’s shadow, blocking it from the sun’s rays.

The action will begin at 12:29 a.m. EST, when the Moon begins to enter the Earth’s outer shadow, or penumbra, the Moon will gradually darken over the next few hours, before beginning its total eclipse phase at 2:40 a.m. The total phase will last for 72 minutes, peaking at 3:17 a.m., and ending at 3:54 a.m. The moon will then continue to pass gradually out of the Earth’s shadow, finally leaving it at 6:06 a.m.

The last total lunar eclipse in North America took place on February 21, 2008, and the next isn’t expected until April 15, 2014. Other total eclipses will occur before then, but will not be visible from North American locations.

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1 John Fee { 12.21.10 at 1:14 am }

Hey, they forgot about the Ursid Meteor shower!!!

2 cat { 12.20.10 at 2:21 pm }

this is the first eclipse on winter solstice in 456 years, it shall be epic.

3 deborah { 12.20.10 at 12:28 pm }

its gonna be awesome!! cant wait.!!

4 Jan { 12.16.10 at 11:01 am }

I would be interested to see how many times through history this particular event has occured.


5 steve { 12.15.10 at 5:10 pm }

hoping for clear skies in order to take some pics through my telescope!

6 Chuck Bunch { 12.15.10 at 12:16 pm }

Looking forward to it. Thanks for the reminder. We are expecting rain in Ca. for the next several days. Hoping for clearing for the meteor showers and eclipse.

7 Vivienne Isaacks { 12.15.10 at 10:59 am }

This is going to be awsome! How exciting to witness…

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