Lunar Eclipse Tonight with the Occurrence of Winter Solstice 2010

According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), winter solstice and a lunar eclipse should be visible in Birmingham Alabama beginning about 12:15 AM DDecember 21, 2010,and lasting seventy-two minutes until 1:41 AM. The coincidence of an eclipse and the winter solstice is a rare event. The next total lunar eclipse will not be seen until April 14 to April 15, 2014.

A small ring of darkness will begin to appear on the moons left edge and will continue to darken to a characteristic red color over a three and one half hour time frame.

The moon will not become invisible because of diffraction of the sun’s light and the position of the earth, moon, and sun relative to each other at this time of year. A coppery to red color should cover the surface of the moon.

Weather predictions (if they hold true) should allow for great viewing for all the star gazers, astronomers, and space geeks throughout Alabama.

A graphic from NASA showing the times the eclipse will occur and the phases for Birmingham and Alabama can be seen here.

The accompanying slide show shows the moon growing toward full on the night of December 20, 2010, from Birmingham.

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