On December 21st, There Will Be A Total Lunar Eclipse
American readers, this is for you. Sorry, everyone else. In the beginning of next week the entire continent of the Americas will be treated to a total lunar eclipse in the wee hours of Tuesday morning. I guess the good news for the Eastern hemisphere is that the Fire Nation is less likely to attack.
Okay, not that wee, really, it’s going to start at 12:30 AM EST, when the moon is about halfway across the sky. We don’t know about you, but 12:30 Tuesday morning is still basically Monday night for us. If you live further west, it’ll happen on Monday regardless of your own internal clock.
According to Space.com, the eclipse will be visible pretty much throughout the Western Hemisphere:
While it can be seen in its entirety from North and Central America, parts of the eclipse can also be seen from Europe, northwestern Africa and parts of Australia. It will not be visible from southern and eastern Africa and India.
NASA’s own map of the eclipse’s visibility can be found here.
Here are some more pertinent facts for your watching ease. All times are Eastern Standard, if you live further west, subtract accordingly. And, of course, since timezones can cover quite a bit of distance, these times may not be exact for you if you are living on the western end of your timezone.
- Although the Earth will begin casting the edge of its shadow across the Moon at 12:29 AM Tuesday, we won’t be able to see the darker interior of the shadow start to cross our lovely satellite until 1:33 AM.
- At 2:41 AM the eclipse will reach totality, giving us a ruddy red moon, colored by light from the Sun that is bent towards the Moon by the edges of our atmosphere. Totality will end at 3:53 AM.
- At 3:19 AM all three of us, Sun, Earth, and Moon, will be completely in alignment.
- Lunar eclipses, unlike solar eclipses, can be observed completely safely with the naked eye. No pinholes required.
Of course one of the most important things to watch in anticipation of an eclipse is the weather. If it’s cloudy out, you’re not going to see any of this. Here’s hoping for clear skies!