We’re to expect a total lunar eclipse sometime in the late evening/early morning of Monday/Tuesday.
It’s almost worth it enough to wake the kids up for. I think I will.
95% chance of total cloud cover, unfortunately.
A lunar eclipse coinciding with the winter solstice hasn't happened in over 450 years. Too bad about the weather forcast, though.
Oh no... I hope the clouds clear before 2am, which is when we'll really have a chance to see the eclipse in action. A few years ago, I went outside to view a lunar eclipse; it was a cold winter night that time too. It was a great experience!
If the clouds are in the way, just wake the kids and show them the Total Eclipse of the Heart video on YouTube and explain the same thing is happening to the moon.
Dear BoV members and friends,
You've probably know about this already, but here's a reminder: December 21 is the Winter Solstice, marking the shortest day and the longest night of the year (in the northern hemisphere). And, as a special solstice treat, a total lunar eclipse will start tomorrow morning at 12:33 a.m. (Central Standard Time), with totality starting at 1:41 a.m. CST.
NASA's Science News website says:
"If you're planning to dash out for only one quick look -- it is December, after all -- choose this moment: 03:17 am EST (17 minutes past midnight PST). That's when the Moon will be in deepest shadow, displaying the most fantastic shades of coppery red."
That darkest point of totality will be at 2:17 a.m. CST. You can find more at:
You can also read about the NASA Astronomer of the Week at McDonald Observatory (who happens to be McDonald Observatory Director David Lambert). Lambert is part of a team that has been using the Harlan J. Smith Telescope at McDonald Observatory, the Vainu Bappu Telescope in India, and the Hubble Space Telescope to study "extreme helium stars." The team was led by Gajendra Pandey of the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) in Bangalore, and also includes C. Simon Jeffery of Armagh Observatory in Northern Ireland, and N. Kameswara Rao, also of IIA. You can find more (including an aside on the friendship of Harlan Smith and Vainu Bappu when they were graduate students at Harvard) at:
And you can read about research by Drs. Don Winget and Mike Montgomery into "axions" -- theoretical particles that might be candidates for dark matter -- using the Otto Struve Telescope at McDonald Observatory, featured this week at:
With thanks for all your wonderful support and wishing you a joyous Christmas season,
Joel W. Barna
University of Texas at Austin
McDonald Observatory and
Department of Astronomy
One University Station C-1402
Austin, TX 78712
It's a shame we couldn't see this solstice lunar eclipse, but don't feel bad. There will be another one on Dec. 21, 2094.
No eclipse tonight ?
Um, it was to start at 12:33am, and peak at $140a (last night). You'd be a bit late, even if you could see through snow clouds.
-$ (fingers doin what they want again)
Just follow the bouncing ball.
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