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Monday, December 20, 2010

Tonight: Lunar Eclipse Coincides with Winter Solstice For First Time in 372 Years

Posted By on Mon, Dec 20, 2010 at 8:31 AM

click to enlarge Where'd I put my Dark Side album?
  • Where'd I put my Dark Side album?
The long dark nights of December are about to get, well, longer and darker beginning early tomorrow morning.

But here's what makes the overnight hours so special tonight: It's believed that they'll mark the first time a lunar eclipse has coincided with the Winter Solstice since way, way back in 1638.

Look to the heavens early tomorrow morning -- around 1:41 a.m. CST -- for the beginning of a lunar eclipse. That's when the Earth's shadow will begin to block out the full moon. Astronomers say the best chance to view the full eclipse will come around 2:17 a.m.

Tomorrow is also the Winter Solstice -- the shortest day of the year when sun is directly over the Tropic of Capricorn in the southern hemisphere. That means that tomorrow night, December 21, will be the longest night of the year. After that, it's all smooth sailing to longer days and (hopefully) warmer temperatures.

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