Lunar Eclipse, Winter Solstice Overlap First Time In 456 Years

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Weather dependent, North America will be treated to a total lunar eclipse early Tuesday morning. What makes this eclipse rare is that it coincides with the winter solstice, a feat that has not occurred in over 350 years.

Tuesday’s eclipse will begin at 1:33 a.m. EST and will continue through 5:01 a.m.

Totality, the time when Earth’s shadow completely covers the moon, will start at 2:41 a.m. and lasts 72 minutes.

Roughly 3:15 a.m. will prove to be the best time to view the eclipse. NASA reports the eclipse will then be at its peak and the moon will display the most brilliant shade of coppery red.

Tuesday is a busy calendar day in the world of astronomy. Not only does the total lunar eclipse take place in the morning, but winter officially gets under way at 6:38 p.m. EST.

It is extremely rare for the two events to take place on the same date. According to NASA, the last such occurrence took place on Dec. 21, 1638. The next time the two events pair up will occur much sooner on Dec. 21, 2094.

Tuesday’s rare eclipse will be visible to all of North America. That is of course weather dependent.

Live Video of the Lunar Eclipse

If you don’t want to brave the December chill, or if your weather doesn’t cooperate for lunar viewing, we have you covered! A live video feed of the lunar eclipse will be available on this page from NASA on Dec 20. The camera is mounted at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

Click here for a table showing the times of all 12 stages in different time zones. This star chart shows where in the sky the upcoming lunar eclipse will appear.

(Source: NASA / Accuweather)




8 COMMENTS

  1. Aren’t lunar eclipses a siman rah for the yidden, especially when the moon’s face will be red? Remember that 1638 was the year Chmielnicki combined forces with the Tartars and laid the groundwork for the infamous massacres.