Dec 20 2010
Tomorrow will be jam-packed with astronomical events, but you’ll miss the first one if I don’t tell you now.
In the wee hours of tomorrow morning — at 3:15am Eastern Standard Time (EST) on December 21, to be exact — the last full moon of 2010 will reach its fullest. Two minutes later it will turn blood red.
That’s because there will be a full lunar eclipse tonight that will reach totality at 3:17am. The eclipse will start 27 minutes after midnight (00:27am on 12/21) and end at 6:06am EST. When the moon is completely eclipsed it usually turns red. This will be visible across all of North America (where there isn’t cloud cover).
The second event is the winter solstice, the moment when the sun “stands still” at its farthest point south for the year. Though this is far less dramatic you can think of it when it occurs at 6:38pm EST.
So if the sky is clear tonight, go to bed early so you can get up to watch the moon.
Don’t worry. You can afford to lose sleep. Tomorrow will be a very short day.
(photo from Wikimedia Commons)