During the wee hours of December 10th a total lunar eclipse will darken the sky. Stargazers in the Western United States, Australia, and East Asia will have the best opportunity to see the last total lunar eclipse until 2014.
2011 has already seen one eclipse this year, but tomorrow’s event will be the last eclipse for three years.
National Geographic reports that the spectacle will start at around 4:45 in the morning (Pacific Time) and will last for nearly three and a half hours. Totality, when the full moon is completely blocked from sunlight, will start a little after 6:00 in the morning.
If you don’t live in Australia, Alaska, or east Asia, you’ll still be able to check out the December 10th lunar eclipse. Slooh.com will have a live feed of the eclipse. You can also watch an embedded stream of the lunar eclipse from New Delhi below.
According to NASA, a total lunar eclipse occurs when the “earth comes between the sun and the moon so that all or part of the sun’s light is blocked from the moon.”
But Space.com reports that even though the definition of an eclipse places the moon, earth, and sun in a direct line, tomorrow’s eclipse will give some viewers an “impossible spectacle.”
For most people in the United States and Canada, they’ll be able to see the earth, sun, and the eclipsed moon at the same time. The effect is called “selenelion” (or “selenehelion”). Space.com explains that this is possible because of atmospheric refraction.
“For example: when you see the sun sitting on the horizon, it is not there really. It’s actually below the edge of the horizon, but our atmosphere acts like a lens and bends the sun’s image just above the horizon, allowing us to see it.”
Are you going to try to see the lunar eclipse tomorrow? Will you watch on your computer or are you going to be able to see the real thing?