Sunday, December 19, 2010

Late Monday night, in the early hours of the Winter Solstice, a Full Moon - Total Lunar Eclipse

The Winter Solstice arrives on Tuesday, December 21, and with it, in the early morning hours, a Total Lunar Eclipse of the Full Moon that will be visible across North America. A astronomical three-scoop sundae if you will.

Starting at 01:33 AM EST (Monday, Dec. 20th, at 10:33 pm PST) the moon will begin to move into the earth's shadow and will remain in 'total eclipse' for 72 minutes, and completely emerge from the shadow at 05:01 ET.

The 'can't miss' phase is between 1:33 and 2:41. The eclipse will begin at 1:33 - this is breath taking - the moon begins to be eaten as an arch much bigger than the arch of the edge of the moon begins to show along one edge, slowly crawling across the disk minute by minute. At 2:41 AM EST - the full effect will happen - you have to be outside for this moment - the normally white light reflecting off the moon will wink out entirely and the eerie, yellow-y aura will fill the evening.

Something changes in the air; if you're with friends or family, all the better. There is something hard-coded into our DNA that happens at this moment, people will stare in awe, some will laugh, some will try to organize things that don't need organizing...

(click on image to see larger)

As for cloud cover, well, have a look for yourself, the forcast is not good. (but there's a 75 % chance they'll be wrong)


Update: December 20 2010 - 07:27
They were wrong!(and Now they're right)

Environment Canada Weather office:
Toronto Island [ Ontario ]

Issued: 5:00 AM EST Monday 20 December 2010

Cloudy. Becoming a mix of sun and cloud this morning. High minus 3.

Clearing. Low minus 9.

Cloudy with sunny periods. Clearing late in the afternoon. Wind becoming north 20 km/h early in the evening. High minus 3.

Environment Canada Satellite Image Animation - December 17th (12:15) to 19th (22:45), 2010

See the NASA page, Solstice Lunar Eclipse.

Environment Canada - Satellite Images Animation.

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