The December 20/21 event is the first total lunar eclipse in three years. There will be two more in 2011.
In the Americas, where the eclipse is visible, it happens overnight December 20-21. Here's the timing:
Partial eclipse begins 9:27pm Pacific December 20
Total eclipse begins 11:40 pm Pacific December 20
Mid-eclipse 12:17 am Pacific December 21
Total eclipse ends 12:53 am Pacific December 21
Partial eclipse ends 3:06 am Pacific December 21
As the Moon appears to darken, it will actually turn a deep shade of red. The entire event lasts three-and-a-half hours. Within that, the period of totality is 72 minutes. If you live in North, South or Central America and have a clear sky, you can watch from beginning to end.
|Start penumbral (P1)||9:27 pm (*)||10:27 pm (*)||11:27 pm (*)||12:27 am|
|Start umbral (U1)||10:32 pm (*)||11:32 pm (*)||12:32 am||1:32 am|
|Start total (U2)||11:40 pm (*)||12:40 am||1:40 am||2:40 am|
|Greatest eclipse||12:17 am||1:17 am||2:17 am||3:17 am|
|End total (U3)||12:53 am||1:53 am||2:53 am||3:53 am|
|End umbra (U4)||2:02 am||3:02 am||4:02 am||5:02 am|
|End penumbral (P4)||3:06 am||4:06 am||5:06 am||6:06 am|
|(*) before midnight on Monday night, December 20|
These simulated views of the earth from the center of the moon during the lunar eclipse show where the eclipse is visible on earth.
The moon passes right to left through the earth's northern shadow
At descending node in Taurus