Monday, December 20, 2010
Tonight: I Like to Watch Lunar Eclipses...Especially on Winter Solstices
Not that I personally have ever had the chance. Tonight there will be a lunar eclipse of a full moon, and you can bet I'll be out somewhere watching, even though it is eff-ing cold where I live, and the eclipse won't really happen until early Tuesday morning for many people (it occurs at 6:38 Eastern Standard Time). But that's the whole point: This will be the first lunar eclipse of a full moon on the winter solstice since, well, let's see...oohh...1378. (That was also the year that a man named Robert de Geneve, who also happened to be known as the "butcher of Cesena," was crowned as the "anti-pope" Clemens VII. Coincidence? Ummm, maybe not.) You can go here to read all about tonight's events and lunar eclipses in general.
To celebrate the event, I went searching for lunar eclipse imagery, and found Mr. Eclipse, perhaps the finest eclipse website going. It features pictures by Fred Espenak, who is a physicist at the Goddard Space Flight Center. Above is an example of his work. Yes, I'm hearing the moon will actually look red, as you see in the sequence here. This could be big.