Monday, December 13, 2010

California: Total Lunar Eclipse - December 20, 2010

2007 Lunar Eclipse (Photo: Joshua Valcarcel, US Navy)

The last total lunar eclipse of the decade happens on Monday, December 20, 2010. Californians can look to the sky starting at 9:29 p.m. PST to see the full moon pass into the Earth’s shadow and be blocked from the rays of the sun that normally illuminate it. As the Sun, Earth and Moon maneuver into a nearly straight line, skywatchers can expect to see a reddish glow as the total eclipse occurs.

The first noticeable change in the moon’s appearance will happen at 10:33 p.m., as the partial phase of the eclipse begins.  At 11:40 p.m., the total eclipse phase begins, lasting 72 minutes from start to finish. The moon will appear at its dimmest at 12:16 a.m.

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area and want to experience the lunar eclipse with other astronomy lovers, visit the Chabot Space & Science Theater in Oakland. In Southern California, you can visit Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. Both facilities offer informative presentations, and telescope viewing.

You won’t want to miss this total lunar eclipse – another won’t be visible in its entirety from North America until 2014!


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