NEWS

Total Eclipse set for Winter Solstice

Charlotte Guedry

A total lunar eclipse will be visible in the skies above Ascension Parish in the early hours of the morning, just in time for the longest night of the year, the winter solstice. The solstice is what most of us know as the first day of winter, and is noted as being the shortest day and longest night of the calendar year. This will be the first time a lunar eclipse has fallen on the winter solstice since 1638.

The Earth’s shadow will begin to cover over the moon at 12:32 am. When the Earth is directly between the moon and the sun, the moon will take on an orange and red glow for 72 minutes from 1:41 am to 2:53 am.

This is the last time a total lunar eclipse will be visible from North America until April 2014.

The Earth’s shadow will be dark against the moon, with a small amount of sunlight filtering through the Earth’s atmosphere, casting a ruddy glow. It has been said that an observer standing on the moon and looking back toward Earth would see a ring of red light circling the Earth, marking all the sunrises and sunsets all over the planet.

The curved edge of the Earth’s shadow as it sweeps across the moon during partial eclipse was one of the first hints to ancient astronomers that the Earth is round.

So, bundle up and look skywards in the wee hours of the morning, as the Winter Solstice offers this amazing chance to see a total lunar eclipse.