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Rare winter solstice lunar eclipse visible tonight
December 20, 2010 / 8:59 PM / 7 years ago

Rare winter solstice lunar eclipse visible tonight

CHICAGO - U.S. skywatchers who stay up late enough and have clear skies can see a total lunar eclipse, a rare event for the winter solstice.

The eclipse, caused by the moon going into the Earth’s shadow, will begin at about 12:32 a.m. Tuesday in the Midwest, 1:32 a.m. on the East Coast, and 10:32 p.m. Monday on the West Coast.

The Adler Planetarium in Chicago is hosting a free viewing event with educators, astronomers and volunteers helping guests with telescope viewing, weather permitting.

Adler astronomer Larry Ciupik said the moon is high in the sky for the winter solstice, which aids viewing, provided it’s not too cloudy. Unfortunately for some Midwest viewers, clouds and snow are expected tonight.

The last winter solstice total lunar eclipse visible from the Midwest was in 1638 -- the next one won’t be until 2094, Ciupik said.

The next total lunar eclipse visible in the Midwest will occur on April 15, 2014.

Ciupik said the moon will appear reddish during the eclipse, due to the way the light from the sun bends around the Earth.

Writing by Mary Wisniewski, Editing by Greg McCune

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