NASA Science News for Dec. 17, 2010Northern winter is beginning in a special way. On Dec. 21st, the winter solstice, a lunar eclipse will be visible across all of North America.
The luster will be a bit “off” on Dec. 21st, the first day of northern winter, when the full Moon passes almost dead-center through Earth’s shadow. For 72 minutes of eerie totality, an amber light will play across the snows of North America, throwing landscapes into an unusual state of ruddy shadow. The eclipse begins on Tuesday morning, Dec. 21st, at 1:33 am EST (Monday, Dec. 20th, at 10:33 pm PST). At that time, Earth’s shadow will appear as a dark-red bite at the edge of the lunar disk. It takes about an hour for the “bite” to expand and swallow the entire Moon. Totality commences at 02:41 am EST (11:41 pm PST) and lasts for 72 minutes.
If you’re planning to dash out for only one quick look -? it is December, after all -? choose this moment: 03:17 am EST (17 minutes past midnight PST). That’s when the Moon will be in deepest shadow, displaying the most fantastic shades of coppery red.
Entertain children the old-fashioned way. Don’t buy them something. Show them a wonder that belongs to everyone. Then give the money to children’s education in developing countries.