Lunar Eclipse December 2011

December 9, 2011 by staff 

Lunar Eclipse December 2011, Lunar eclipse December 2011 is round the corner. This Saturday people can get to see a rare morning sight of watching both the sun and the moon together in an eclipse. In Alaska, Hawaii, northwestern Canada, Australia, New Zealand and central and eastern Asia ringside view of the second total lunar eclipse of the year can be had.

The eastern zones of the United States and Canada will see either only the initial penumbral stages before moonset or miss all of it. The central areas of the continent will see the moon setting as it becomes progressively immersed in the Earth’s umbral shadow. The lucky ones in the Rocky Mountain region and the Prairie Provinces will be able to view the full eclipse of the moon.

The moon will totally come under the southern part of the Earth’s shadow at 6:06 a.m. PT and emerge after 51 minutes.

The term given to this unusual sight is “selenelion” (or “selenehelion”). This phenomenon will be visible in most of the United States.

Selenelion is more a quirk of the vision than an actual happening. If we recall our science lessons, we know that refraction bends the light rays when light passes through two media of different densities. Atmospheric refraction causes astronomical objects to appear higher in the sky than they are in reality. So when the sun has actually set, we get to see the sun setting through refraction in the atmosphere. Selenelion occurs because refracted light makes the sun visible though it is nowhere near the eclipsed moon.

This Saturday for roughly one to six minutes, refraction will make the moon appear to be setting to people in the US while the sun is rising on the other horizon.

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