Monday, December 13, 2010

13 December, Geminid Meteor Shower and Lunar Eclipse 29 December

[On the evening of 13 and the morning of 14 December, skywatchers across the northern hemisphere will be looking up as the Geminid meteor shower reaches its peak, in one of the best night sky events of the year...

The last total lunar eclipse occurred on Feb. 20, 2008. While there are two total lunar eclipses in 2011, North American skywatchers will have to wait until April 2014 for one as potentially spectacular as the eclipse occurring this month.

For the Western Hemisphere, the eclipse will begin on Dec. 21 at 12:29 a.m. EST (9:29 p.m. PST on Dec. 20) as the moon begins to enter Earth's outer, or penumbral, shadow.  This total lunar eclipse lasts only 72 minutes from start to finish.

Skywatchers will not notice any changes in the moon's appearance until about 45 minutes into the event, when a slight "smudge," or shading, begins to become evident on the upper left portion of the moon's disk.]

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