Lunar eclipse tonight will be quite the sight

lunar eclipse

Picture of the moon turning red during a lunar eclipse. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

In the evening of Monday, Dec. 20, there will be a lunar eclipse. It will be the only lunar eclipse for the year, and it occurs the day before the winter solstice. Eye protection is not required during the window of time it will be visible.

Lunar eclipse tonight in North and South America

A lunar eclipse is a very rare event, and a total lunar eclipse in 2010 will occur December 20, just before the Winter Solstice for 2010. The lunar eclipse will be visible world wide, but it will be most prominently seen in North and South America. The Pacific coast of the Americas should see it in the evening, and the Atlantic region should see it in the early morning on Tuesday, Dec. 21, according to ABC. The lunar eclipse should last about 3 hours, from about 1 a.m. Eastern Standard to 4 a.m. Eastern, or about 10 p.m. To 1 a.m. Pacific. During that time, the moon will be ghostly and pale, and then take on a distinct reddish hue.

Lunar eclipses versus solar eclipses

There is a distinct difference between a lunar eclipse and a solar eclipse. In a solar eclipse, the moon moves into a position in which it blocks out the sun for a short period of time. A lunar eclipse is where the earth passes between the sun and the moon. A total lunar eclipse can only occur during a full moon, which is what is happening tonight. The red color of the moon during a lunar eclipse is caused by the sun’s rays interacting with Earth’s atmosphere, which will color the moon a dramatic reddish color.

A rare treat

For astronomy buffs, this is a rare treat. Lunar eclipses in and of themselves are not rare, but tonight’s is a total lunar eclipse. Since it can be easily seen with the naked eye, they are spectacular to watch, and the ghoulish red tint of the moon is quite the sight, for those that are able to watch it

Sources

ABC

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