LUNAR ECLIPSE: For the first time in many years, northern winter is beginning with a total lunar eclipse. On Dec. 21, 2010, the date of the northern winter solstice, the full Moon will pass through Earth’s shadow, turning the lunar orb a delightful shade of coppery-red. Sky watchers in North America are favored with an overhead view as the eclipse unfolds on Tuesday morning between 02:41 am and 03:53 am EST.
The lunar eclipse of Dec. 21st falls on the same date as the northern winter solstice. Is this rare? It is indeed, according to Geoff Chester of the US Naval Observatory, who inspected a list of eclipses going back 2000 years. “Since Year 1, I can only find one previous instance of an eclipse matching the same calendar date as the solstice, and that is Dec. 21, 1638,” says Chester. “Fortunately we won’t have to wait 372 years for the next one…that will be on Dec. 21, 2094.”