Total Lunar Eclipse and Winter Solstice to Collide for First Time in 456 Years
This coming Tuesday, the sun and moon with both appear at their darkest as the winter solstice and lunar eclipse occur at the same time for the first time in 456 years. Those in North America will be particularly well positioned to see the lunar eclipse, according to NASA.
A lunar eclipse is a bi-annual event which occurs when the earth blocks the sun's rays from hitting the moon. But, this is the first time in 35 months that a total lunar eclipse has been seen and is said to be the "best lunar show" until 2014.
The eclipse will begin at 1:33 am and last until 5:01 am EST, however the actual eclipse portion will last just 72 minutes, between 2:41 am and 3:53 am. During this time the full moon may appear a bright red or blood orange color.
The winter solstice, the "darkest day of the year", also occurs on Tuesday. The Earth's axial tilt moves the planet farthest from the sun, and the day is shorter.