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Winter Solstice 2010 Total Lunar Eclipse Saltpring Island Pacific Time Schedule of Events

Dec 201019

WinterSoltice Full Moon Ecl

Monday night Dec 20th into Tuesday sunrise Dec 21st
Saltpring Island Pacific Time Schedule of Events

4:30pm Sun Set and Full Moon Rise
10:30pm Beginning of Eclipse
Midnight Peak of Totality
2am End of Eclipse
7:30am Moon Set Sun Rise

Dec 21 3:38 PM : Winter Solstice

In 3 ½ hours we’ll see all the phases of the Moon (10:30pm-2am)
The peak of totality lasts around an hour (11:41pm until 12:53am)

From start to finish, December’s lunar eclipse lasts about three hours and twenty-eight minutes (not including the penumbral phases which are very difficult to see). The partial eclipse begins as the Moon’s eastern edge slowly moves into the Earth’s umbral shadow. During the partial phases, it takes just over an hour for the Moon’s orbital motion to carry it entirely within the Earth’s dark umbra. The color and brightness of the totally eclipsed Moon can vary considerably from one eclipse to another. Dark eclipses are caused by volcanic gas and dust which filters and blocks much of the Sun’s light from reaching the Moon. Although Indonesia’s Mount Merapi has undergone recent volcanic eruptions, it has produced enough dust and gas to significantly darken December’s eclipse. Expect the total phase to appear bright red or orange .After the total phase ends, it is once again followed by a partial eclipse as the Moon gradually leaves the umbral shadow.

The total phase of a lunar eclipse is called totality. At this time, the Moon is completely immersed within the Earth’s dark umbral shadow. During the December 21 eclipse totality will last just over 72 minutes. This is quite a bit longer than the last total lunar eclipse on February 21, 2008 which lasted 50 minutes.

This lunar eclipse falls on the date of the northern winter solstice. How rare is that? Total lunar eclipses in northern winter are fairly common. There have been three of them in the past ten years alone. A lunar eclipse smack-dab on the date of the solstice, however, is unusual. The US Naval Observatory inspected a list of eclipses going back 2000 years. Since Year 1, there is only one previous instance of an eclipse matching the same calendar date as the solstice, and that is 1638 DEC 21. We won’t have to wait 372 years for the next one…that will be on 2094 DEC 21.

Where will you be on winter Solstice 2010 during that total lunar eclipse?

As for us , right on the midst of it, we’ll most likely be here on Saltspring Island peeking at the moon, celebrating the returning of the Light with a few dear members of our Bohemian tribal family ;-)

WinterSoltice Ecl Cycle

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