Astronomy

The best Viewing Locations for the Total Lunar Eclipse Early Tuesday December 21 2010



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"The best Viewing Locations for the Total Lunar Eclipse Early Tuesday December 21 2010"
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The December 20 2010 lunar eclipse, which coincides with the winter solstice this year, will have optimum viewing for some areas of the globe. This celestial event will last about three and one half hours with the maximum eclipse occurring at 3:17 a.m. EST/12:17 a.m. PST.

Star gazers watching from North and Central Americas are expected to have the best viewing locations this year, although a small portion of South America will have a great view as well. These regions will be able to see the entire event from beginning to end. Western Europe should be able to clearly see the beginning of the total lunar eclipse, while western Asia will be able to see the tail end of the celestial event.

Meteorologist Joe Rao states "The passage of the moon through the Earth's shadow is equally visible from all places within the hemisphere where the moon is above the horizon." (courtesy of FOX News). This, however, is dependent on clear skies, if local weather is cloudy or rainy, this will present obstacles for visibility due to poor visibility conditions.

Those star gazers living in regions with clear skies should be able to view the event right from their own backyards.

No special protective glasses are necessary for lunar eclipses, the naked eye is just fine as there is no vision risk like there is with solar events, however binoculars could enhance the view to enlarge the eclipse and give star gazers a better view. Experts are saying the eclipse is so visible, a telescope is not needed to get a great glimpse of the moon.

Unfortunately if the weather is cloudy then this will pose an obstacle to eclipse viewing. The good news is if weather conditions are poor, or even if the temperatures are just too cold to stand outside and watch, interested viewers can see the total lunar eclipse as it unfolds over the Internet. NASA has plans to stream the event for the public via live video

Lunar eclipses often provide surprise occurrences. Generally until an eclipse actually happens it is hard to predict things such as how deep it will be and what color the moon will appear to be; current weather conditions determine these factors. Experts this year are making predictions, their guess is the sky and moon are likely to shine orange and may even turn a bright red color. (Space.com).  

The fact that the total lunar eclipse coincides with winter solstice in 2010 is a unique event. This only occurs once every 372 years and is not expected to occur again until December 21 2094. What is cool about the simultaneous event is that the moon will be located high in the sky on the winter solstice and this will enhance the viewing experience for the eclipse.

This year a large percentage of the global popular should be able to see a good amount, or at least some portion, of the total lunar eclipse. And those that can't can always turn to the web and not have to miss out on the event.

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ARTICLE SOURCES AND CITATIONS
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/12/20/total-lunar-eclipse-monday-night/#ixzz18hC7ofpt
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://www.nasa.gov/connect/chat/lunar_eclipse.html.
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40754925/ns/technology_and_science-space/