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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soundoff (370 Responses)
  1. Steve

    Wow !!!!!! This really bringing out the tinfoil hat brigade ...........
    Personally , I'll be checking it out , smokin' a fat one , and crankin' up the Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon !!!!!
    Just hoping the skies stay clear !!!!!!!

    December 20, 2010 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
    • At work

      Tinfoil Hat brigade! That's hilarious. I didn't get it at first.

      December 20, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      I'm glad somebody got it !!!!!!!!! By the way ..... if skies are cloudy , there is a chance that will be showing it online ..... and if you all aren't into Pink Floyd ...... my son (frakin' little metal head!!! ) suggested " Bark at the Moon " by Ozzy .
      Happy viewing everyone !!!!!!!!!

      December 20, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • ridge

      i'll be doing the same bro!

      December 20, 2010 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  2. mia

    oh my......thats soo pretty i cant wait lol....ill set my alarm to just see it lmao.....ill prolly miss it 🙂

    December 20, 2010 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  3. Arin

    R u sure it is going to happen in the morning.

    December 20, 2010 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  4. csw4

    The government should stop a lot of things such as welfare(and they won't), funding dumb studies(remember the ketchup flow thing?) and the promotions to bottom feeders! Our $ needs to work for us NOW not greedy political slobs! This celestial event is FREE! Take advantage before some slob works it into a tax bill!

    December 20, 2010 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
    • NYPrincessTt


      December 20, 2010 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  5. JAMES


    December 20, 2010 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
    • NYPrincessTt

      Yes, this is my problem as well. Please advise me where we can meet up to discuss this privately.

      December 20, 2010 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  6. verncakes

    I find it intriguing how most peoples comments seem to fall into either the religion or scientific categories. Why butt heads about it though, that's what I can't understand.

    December 20, 2010 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Logician

      That's because most people are either smart (scientific) or stupid (religious).

      December 20, 2010 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
  7. IloveBritSpears

    Burn the witches who conceived such dark dark magic and cast their souls down to the hellfire for these witches are evil I say.

    December 20, 2010 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  8. perseverance

    December 20, 2010 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  9. rbie

    I see a bad moon risin I see trouble on the way Theres a bad moon on the rise!!!

    December 20, 2010 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  10. kawayan

    it generally affects water ... but we are 70%+ water ... a lot of us will be acting up

    December 20, 2010 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  11. verncakes

    Thanks for the laugh perseverance

    December 20, 2010 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  12. Yasmin

    I dont get it when is the lunar eclipse ganna start today or tommorow???

    December 20, 2010 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • ridge

      later tonight which will technically be tomorrow.

      December 20, 2010 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  13. lava

    will it have any effect on pregnant ladies

    December 20, 2010 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Megan

    I hope I get to see it.

    December 20, 2010 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ridge

    hell yeah, gotta play some floyd, man. this is gonna be sweeeet!

    December 20, 2010 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
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