Dec 20 2010

Sun and Moon Tomorrow

Published by at 7:37 am under Weather & Sky

Tomorrow will be jam-packed with astronomical events, but you'll miss the first one if I don't tell you now.

In the wee hours of tomorrow morning -- at 3:15am Eastern Standard Time (EST) on December 21, to be exact -- the last full moon of 2010 will reach its fullest.  Two minutes later it will turn blood red. 

That's because there will be a full lunar eclipse tonight that will reach totality at 3:17am.  The eclipse will start 27 minutes after midnight (00:27am on 12/21) and end at 6:06am EST.  When the moon is completely eclipsed it usually turns red.  This will be visible across all of North America (where there isn't cloud cover). 

The second event is the winter solstice, the moment when the sun "stands still" at its farthest point south for the year.  Though this is far less dramatic you can think of it when it occurs at 6:38pm EST.

So if the sky is clear tonight, go to bed early so you can get up to watch the moon. 

Don't worry.  You can afford to lose sleep.  Tomorrow will be a very short day.  😉

(photo from Wikimedia Commons)

9 responses so far

9 Responses to “Sun and Moon Tomorrow”

  1. faith cornellon 20 Dec 2010 at 3:10 pm

    The weather man says it will be cloudy but I will look anyway, our back deck faces the full moons if it is clear. Thanks for the info. When I had a yard I used to wake the kids up & we would take out lawn chairs out bec. we lived almost in the woods, no street light yet so we got to see alot of good stuff. We had a star chart & the big/little dipper were almost always visible & we could even see the northern lights occasionally. I even remember when sputnik whizzed over.

  2. Michellineon 20 Dec 2010 at 3:22 pm

    Thank you Kate for all your wonderful insights and articles this year. I appreciate the links, photos and all the interesting information presented. I wish you and your readers a joyful holiday and hope for a safe year to come for all creatures and our planet.

  3. Kate St. Johnon 20 Dec 2010 at 4:37 pm

    Michelline, what a generous thing to say. May all your wishes come true!

  4. Kate St. Johnon 20 Dec 2010 at 4:44 pm

    Faith, I just re-read my blog and saw that at one point I said the eclipse will be “tomorrow night” (not!) instead of tonight. Yoy! The date is “tomorrow” but the night is “tonight.” Double yoy!
    I hope you plan to get out the lawn chairs tonight. Those clouds are a bummer. We’ll compare notes in the morning.

  5. faith cornellon 20 Dec 2010 at 6:32 pm

    PS: The times I am seeing from NASA site is starting at 1:15 AM EST. Lasting the 2-3 hrs. Am setting alarm or trying to stay up; depends on if I fall asleep on my sofa I guess. So we will see or not see depending on cloud cover; all the articles do say that the chances of it being cloudy are high. Good luck to some of us .

  6. Peteron 20 Dec 2010 at 11:35 pm

    I’m home in South Bend Indiana for the holidays. For an hour or two mid-Ohio it was sunny and there were hopes of a clear sky. As I got closer to the Indiana border though more and more clouds were in the sky until the permacloud I am so used to here appeared. Oh well. I always have this kind of luck. My mom and I were both going to set our alarms. She loves to get out and watch the ISS (International space station) pass over too. But that happens a whole lot more often!

    A bird story from earlier before I got out of town – I’d decided to stop and find a geocache in Schenley since i had an item that needed to be dropped off there to continue its mission. There I was by the Westinghouse Memorial and this older gentleman came up and started brushing the snow off a bench. I was worried he’d be there and watch me, which makes it hard for a geocacher to be inconspicuous…we prefer no muggles watching us do our thing since it can look a little suspicious. Well, he disappeared pretty quickly. But on my way out I spotted a red-bellied woodpecker. I know, pretty common. But I actually didn’t spot him first…I heard him making one heckuva racket! As I headed back to the car, I saw what it was. He was calling out, “Soup’s on! Soup’s on!” The man had left a few almonds and some other snacks for the birds there. This woodpecker was quite excited about whichever treat he’d taken to the branches above.

  7. Libby Strizzion 21 Dec 2010 at 8:23 am

    At about 9 p.m., I looked out my window facing east and there was the full moon, way up high. I was excited that maybe I’d get to see the eclipse — even called a friend to ask him to call me at 3 a.m. (to see the blood red moon) if he was up. But by bedtime at midnight, no sign of the moon. I walked around the house periodically before hitting the sack. No moon. Got up at 2 a.m. — still no moon. So goes it in our cloudy area.

  8. Kate St. Johnon 21 Dec 2010 at 9:45 am

    I checked the clouds before I went to bed and they looked too thick so I didn’t set my alarm. Then a friend called at 3:20am so I got to see the moon looking red after all, but it was a very fleeting look. There were few breaks in the clouds and they were very small!

  9. faith cornellon 21 Dec 2010 at 11:11 am

    I got a good peek, full moon was overhead our condo & it was a little more than half way around 2:30 am. But couldn’t not see it later. Oh well. At least I saw some. Lately that seems to be the way it is.

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