This is one of those holidays that exists objectively, whether we want it or not. Every culture marked it, and every human has noticed it since the beginning of time. And nobody will change it to Monday so we get a long weekend, or combine it with another event and call it “Celestial Day.” It is what it is – simple, scientific, magical and beautiful.
…and here’s a song from one of my favorite musicals, Rogers and Hart’s The Boys from Syracuse, “The Shortest Day of the Year:
- Winter Solstice ~ Merry Yule (fordrinksandtips.com)
- Winter Solstice 2011: When It Is and What to Know About Start of Winter (ibtimes.com)
- Happy Winter Solstice 2011 (blippitt.com)
- When is the winter solstice? (guardian.co.uk)
It was beautiful…instead of going black the eclipsed moon turned a dark amber red. At 3:00 AM I stood at my window and watched it in all it’s glory, just off Orion’s upper right quadrant. The sky was wonderfully clear and, through my binoculars, I could see the shadowed craters in a dark red-grey surrounded by red highlights.
Today is the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, and it’s the last day of Zappadan. Today is the 70th anniversary of Frank’s birth. So here’s some morning music to celebrate – Baby Snakes (recorded live in Munich):
- “Winter Solstice 2010 full moon” and related posts (personalmoneystore.com)
- Winter solstice marked by eclipse (mirror.co.uk)
- Lunar eclipse and winter solstice to coincide for first time in 372 years (guardian.co.uk)
- Video : Lunar eclipse December 2010, winter solstice coincide ttrumping “once in a blue moon” (panasianbiz.com)
- “Winter Solstice” and related posts (weeklyworldnews.com)
Three Hundred and Seventy Two years ago was the last time that the Winter Solstice (which makes tomorrow the shortest day of the year) and a total eclipse of the Moon happened at the same time. I don’t know what you were doing then, but I wasn’t around.
I’m planning on jumping out of bed around 2:30 AM, putting my snuggies on, and going outside to see the major event (and note, there may be some leftovers from the Geminids meteor shower that peaked a couple of days ago, to catch our attention.) What a great sky gazing night!
Here’s what you need to know in order to see everything. From NASA:
The eclipse begins on Tuesday morning, Dec. 21st, at 1:33 am EST (Monday, Dec. 20th, at 10:33 pm PST). At that time, Earth’s shadow will appear as a dark-red bite at the edge of the lunar disk. It takes about an hour for the “bite” to expand and swallow the entire Moon. Totality commences at 02:41 am EST (11:41 pm PST) and lasts for 72 minutes.
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.
Geoff Chester of the US Naval Observatory inspected a list of eclipses going back 2000 years:
“Since Year 1, I can only find one previous instance of an eclipse matching the same calendar date as the solstice, and that is 1638 DEC 21. Fortunately we won’t have to wait 372 years for the next one…that will be on 2094 DEC 21.”
According to the Weather Bureau, we should be mostly clear tonite in our area (with temperatures down to 20° – Brrrr) so we should have a clear view of it.
- Early Christmas treat: 2010’s total lunar eclipse (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- “Lunar Eclipse, Winter Solstice Overlap First Time In 456 Years” and related posts (theyeshivaworld.com)
- Early Christmas treat: Total lunar eclipse (boston.com)
- Reminder – Solstice Lunar Eclipse Tonight! – NASA Science | Science News – NASA Science | Science News (richarddawkins.net)
- Tonight’s Lunar Eclipse Coincides with Winter Solstice [Dispatches from the Culture Wars] (scienceblogs.com)
- Amazing Spectacle: Total Lunar Eclipse Monday Night – Fox News (news.google.com)
- The 12 Stages of Monday’s Total Lunar Eclipse (cbsnews.com)