Final lunar eclipse of 2010 set for early morning of December 21
December 17th, 2010
05:45 PM ET

Final lunar eclipse of 2010 set for early morning of December 21

Skygazers hoping to catch the last lunar eclipse of 2010 on Tuesday morning best be ready to stay up late (or wake up very early) to watch the full moon as it goes through a range of dramatic color changes.

The December 21 lunar eclipse is expected to last about three-and-a-half hours from its start as a partial eclipse at 1:33 a.m. ET to its finish at 5:01 a.m. ET, according to NASA. The previous lunar eclipse occurred June 26.

Share your images and video of the eclipse through iReport.

During a lunar eclipse, the moon, the Earth, and the sun align so that the sun's rays are shielded from the moon. An eclipse of the moon can only take place if the moon is full, and only if the moon passes through some portion of Earth's shadow, which is composed of two cone-shaped parts, one nested inside the other.

The start of the total eclipse is expected around 2:41 a.m, when the entire moon passes through the Earth's umbra, or inner shadow, which blocks all direct sunlight from reaching the moon.

The moon will take on a vibrant red color until 3:35 a.m., according to NASA.

Before and after the total eclipse, the moon will pass through the penumbra, or outer region of the Earth's shadow, where Earth blocks some of the sun's rays, but not all.

The entire event is visible from North America, Greenland and Iceland. Western Europe will see the beginning stages of the eclipse before moonset while western Asia will get the later stages after moonrise. To find out the best viewing times outside of the Eastern Time Zone, check out NASA's page on the December 21 lunar eclipse, and then refer to this handy guide for converting times.

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Filed under: Space
soundoff (370 Responses)
  1. bruinsfanca

    Could someone please tell Ali that Dec 21 is not the shortest day of the year. A day is 24 hours long and does not change. Dec 21 is the day with the least amount of daylight hours. There is a difference.

    December 21, 2010 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lisa

      No today is the winter solstice the shortest day of the year,dont you know about the winter solstice and the summer solstice?

      December 21, 2010 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Lisa

    OOMMMGG I SAW THAT LAST NIIIGHT!! it was at 2:40AM-3:30AM!!! I SAW 2 SHOOTING STARZ!!! :D

    December 21, 2010 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lisa

      wait did it just say on the 21 st? It was last night on the 20 th. Srry to correct you but ya. ;)

      December 21, 2010 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Chimaks SeraphicIfy Ezeh

    Oh yeah

    December 22, 2010 at 7:47 am | Report abuse |
  4. Joon

    Well Uncle Steve you've got toooo much time on your hands!! Blau blau blau and yes I think an Arizona would be a great winter deotinatisn. The perfect place would be at Roosevelt Lake, Windyhill campground. With your senior pass' the fee is $3.00with free views of the surrounding area, long walks, plenty of stars and much more. You've been there!! Plan a January arrival so Nancy and I can join you. December is just too busy a month to do any camping as much as I would like to. Anyway I'll check on your Blue progress from time to time and look forward to your Habitat section. Take care

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