Monday, December 20, 2010


As with so many other astronomical events the first total lunar eclipse to coincide with the winter solstice since 1638 isn't visible tonight in Winnipeg as yet more snow drifts gently down to move us to the wettest year in history. Here in the Central Time Zone the umbral phase is due to begin at 12:32 am, and totality at 1:40 am. Totality will last until 2:53 am, making this one of the longer eclipses. There are two lunar eclipses due next year, so better luck next time.

For the curious you can read all about this eclipse in a wikipedia article now on the web. The full eclipse will be basically a North American event this time around with the old world and much of South America missing large parts of the event. For places other than here in the Great Canadian Snowdrift the wikipedia article gives a chart of the phases for various time zones. A good source for viewing conditions in your locale is the Clear Dark Sky website. Much better and more detailed than the average weather report. For those diehards who just have to see something NASA will host a webcam real time version of the eclipse here. Seems like a very poor substitute to me, but to each their own. There will also be a chat room at the NASA site so you can either praise or howl about viewing conditions where you live.

All I can say is better luck next year.

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