I just wanted to get everyone ready for the next upcoming nighttime show. And, since it's Christmas and everyone is busy at this time of year..... I thought I should forewarn you so you can make the time to see the Winter Solstice Lunar Eclipse.
An exceptional total eclipse of the Moon is visible throughout North America very early on the 21st ET (and begins on the 20th PT). The partial eclipse begins at 1:32 A.M., with totality starting at 2:40 A.M. Winter arrives the same day, with the solstice at 6:38 P.M. If you live in the Northeast, drag out a lawn chair and a couple of blankets. Don't forget the hot chocolate!
The total eclipse of the Moon in the early hours of December 21 will occur on a celestial canvas of superb beauty. A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth passes between the Sun and the Moon. In this alignment, the shadow of the Earth falls upon the Moon, dimming the Moon and giving it unusual coloring, ranging from muted gray to coppery orange.
While every eclipse is special, this one is attended by many stars and constellations that are beautiful in their own right. The prominent constellations of Orion (The Hunter), Gemini (The Twins), Auriga (The Charioteer), and Taurus (The Bull) frame the Moon on eclipse night.
Sky Map for December 21, 210: Click to Expand (74.34 KB PDF)
No fewer than six stars of First Magnitude or brighter lie in the region around the Moon; they are labeled on the map. Lunar eclipses are slow motion events, lasting several hours. Your best viewing strategy will be to check the Moon every 20-30 minutes, starting at about 2:00 a.m.
Happy viewing and as the late Jack Horkheimer used to say as he closed his show Star Gazer.... Keep looking up!