December 19, 2010 by USA Post
Lunar Eclipse, Lunar eclipses are always special, but the next night Monday and early Tuesday in a true rarity: This is the first time a total lunar eclipse coincides with the winter solstice in 372 years. On top of that, the meteor shower ursid, usually without complications, could put in a little show, while the eclipse darkened the sky at night. But he will stay late or get up early to see everything.
On the east coast, the eclipse starts half an hour after midnight on Tuesday, December 21. In the West, beginning around 21:30 PT Monday. Across the country, the entire eclipse will be visible before the moon sets in the west just as the sun is rising in the east. Maximum eclipse is at 3:17 a.m. EST/12: 17 am PST. [SPACE.com 's Viewing Guide]
Viewing an eclipse is easy. If the sky is clear, just go out and look up. The most attractive segments occur when the Moon is immersed in the Earth’s total shadow, called the umbra, and of course during the period of totality. See the times of the 12 stages here. Depending on the amount of particles in the atmosphere, the moon can turn a deep orange or blood red during the eclipse.
You do not need a telescope, I thought it might be nice to use one to study the moon and its craters as the event unfolds. Lunar eclipses are the things of tradition and a lot of hype and fear generated over the centuries. Some former saw the bite is taken from the moon as literal. Christopher Columbus used a blood-red eclipse in 1504 to frighten natives on Jamaica into feeding his crew.
In fact, other interesting celestial mechanics and the dramatic darkening of the moon, nothing special happens in the physical or psychological harm or during the full moon during a lunar eclipse. For all the real truth of truths vs. myths lunar, see our Top 10 Amazing Facts Moon or, The truth about lunar effects on you.
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