Last night, for the first time in 372 years, the winter solstice coincided with a total lunar eclipse.
For three hours and 28 minutes in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, the earth’s umbral shadow crept across the face of the moon, turning the moon a ghostly copper orange. Then, from just after 3 a.m. EST to 5:01 a.m., the moon slowly emerged from the shadow.
This image shows the moon in various stages through the night.
A total lunar eclipse occurs when the earth aligns with the sun and the moon, blocking the sun’s rays and casting a shadow over the moon. This story, posted yesterday, has more details on what causes the spectacular color changes.
For those who were robbed of the spectacle by overcast, rainy weather, or those who couldn’t spare the sleep, here are some tools to experience or relive the eclipse:
This Washington Post blog has a time-lapse video of the full eclipse, filmed with a 4-inch telescope from Gainesville, Fla., where the visibility was perfect. And Huffington Post has a slideshow of the eclipse captured around the world.
But don’t hold your breath for another full winter solstice eclipse anytime soon. That won’t happen for another 84 years.