Total Lunar Eclipse Tonight

Put on your slippers and throw on your snuggies because the cold winter nights of North America are about to be heated by pure excitement as thousands wake up at in the middle of the night to view a total lunar eclipse which by pure chance is occurring on the winter solstice for the first time in over 370 years.

Tonight, beginning around 1:00am the Earth will slowly but surely move between the Sun and Moon.  As the Earth moves across the light path of the Sun, the Moon will start to go dark as our planets massive shadow begins to stretch over it.  The shadow will begin in the corner and slowly make its way across the moons surface until the whole of the Moon is covered by the Earth’s shadow around 3:20am.  It’s important to note that the Moon will still be partially visible once it is completely covered, but it will have a strange red glow which comes from light traveling through Earth’s atmosphere still hitting the lunar surface.

The nicest thing about viewing lunar eclipses is that the best way to observe them is by simply going out and looking up.  Telescopes will actually dampen the effect because of the amount of light they pick up partially washing out the shadow.  Binoculars might be useful but I would suggest just going out around 1:30am, 2:00am, 3:00am and 3:20am and follow the progress with your own eyes as the Moon becomes covered by the shadow of us on Earth.

Update: 1:40am
Clouds were pretty heavy but I did get a few breaks where about a quarter of the left side of the moon looked as though it had been bitten off.  Pretty awesome getting to see my first lunar eclipse!  Now its time to go off to bed for work tomorrow.

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