0 How To Enjoy the 72-Minute Earth Sandwich

winter solstice lunar eclipse
At about 1:32am Tuesday on the East Coast, night owls may notice an interesting sight in the evening sky. A rare winter solstice lunar eclipse will occur as the moon passes behind the earth. The earth will block the sun's rays from striking the moon, a phenomenon that can only occur when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are aligned with the Earth in the middle.

The Earth’s shadow will begin to blot out the moon at 1:32am EST. During totality, when the Earth is directly between the moon and the sun, the moon will turn a rusty orange-red for 72 minutes (from 2:41am to 3:53am EST).

According to NASA:
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.

Geoff Chester of the US Naval Observatory inspected a list of eclipses going back 2000 years.

"Since Year 1, I can only find one previous instance of an eclipse matching the same calendar date as the solstice, and that is 1638 DEC 21," says Chester. "Fortunately we won't have to wait 372 years for the next one...that will be on 2094 DEC 21."
The next total lunar eclipse visible in the Midwest will occur on April 15, 2014 — so after you've filed your annual taxes you can gaze at the night sky and contemplate where it all went...

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