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The Best Places to Watch Tonight's Winter Solstice Lunar Eclipse

December 20, 2010 at 11:35 AM | by | ()

Tomorrow is the winter solstice, and you don't have to be a wearer of crystals and a worshiper of Stonehenge to enjoy it because this year, the winter solstice also brings a pretty lunar eclipse. Occurring between 2:40am and 4am EST and visible from all of North America, Central America and the very top of South America, tonight's celestial event will bring out more than a few sky-watchers. During the time that the Earth's shadow passes over the moon, the moon is set to glow a deep red or orange.

The question now is--where is the best place to catch the color-changing action? According to a Weather Channel map, much of the US is due for cloud cover through the night, but states with clear skies include Texas, Florida, Montana and much of the lower eastern seaboard. Sadly, the Midwest looks SOL for the sighting.

Above is another Weather Channel map, this time of the world, showing that even Europe may get a little orange moon action. According to USA Today, there will be three more lunar eclipses over the next 12 months: tonight, June 15 and Dec. 10, 2011. Don't think you can skip this one though, because it'll be the best viewing of the three since the June eclipse won't be visible from North America, and next December's will be visible only in the western part of North America. And that last one is still a whole year away!

Lunar eclipse details: 2:40am to 4am EST
Google search for your area plus "lunar eclipse viewing party" to see if any events are planned around you. Going out and hanging out with people who have telescopes and hot coffee could also help you stay up for the event.

[Photo: plasticsnow & Weather Channel]

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