Dec 10

Total Lunar Eclipse - December 21st, 2010

For almost four centuries a total lunar eclipse hasn't coincided with the December solstice, called the Winter Solstice in Northern Hemisphere and Summer Solstice in Southern Hemisphere.  If weather conditions allowed a clear view of the sky Western Europe could see the first stages of the eclipse before moonset. On the rest of the world people from North America, Greenland and Iceland could see the entire event, and western Asia and Australia got the end of the eclipse after moonrise.

Many beautiful images were posted on the Internet by many lucky astronomers that had the weather cooperating with them.

Sequence from Toronto, Ontario. Sequence is in 15 minute increments, with 5 minute increments up until totality at 8:17am UTC. Image credit: Tom Ruen/Wikipedia.

Space shuttle Discovery waits to roll back from Launch Pad 39A to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida in the early morning hours of Dec 21, 2010, with the beginning of the total lunar eclipse clearly in view.  Image credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

In the majority of European countries where there was a possibilty of seeing the  eclipse the bad weather made it impossible to be seen. This was my case. As shown bellow in Faro, Algarve, Portugal, where it usually never rains, the climate has gone mad and it as been raining a lot during the hole last week and this week also. So it was very cloudy at the time the eclipse might have been seen.

The clouds over Algarve, Portugal, looking towards the direction where the Moon should be at 08h15min (UTC).
Image credit: EAAE/Alexandre Costa.

Luckily, this was not general. Some images can already be found on the internet about the event in Europe. For instance Stu Atkinson has described his experience viewing this eclipse in the UK on his blog.

Lunar Eclipse  seen from Kendal Castle, Cumbria, UK. Image credit: Stu Atkinson/Cumbrian Sky.
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