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Eclipse of December 10, 2011

Weather Conditions Favor Viewing Tonight’s Eclipse

Oceanside CA-  Weather conditions favor viewing tonight’s eclipse as mostly clear skies are in the forecast. The lunar eclipse will begin shortly before 11:00 p.m., ending just after 2:30 tomorrow morning.

A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes within Earth’s shadow. As the eclipse begins, the Earth’s shadow first darkens the moon slightly. Then, the shadow begins to “cover” part of the moon, turning it a dark red-brown color typically – the color can vary based on atmospheric conditions. The moon appears to be reddish due to the same effect that causes sunsets to appear reddish and the refraction of that light by the Earth’s atmosphere into its shadow.

No special equipment is needed to view tonight’s celestial event, just go outside and look up. If the eclipse is past your bedtime, no worries. Tonight’s “blood moon” eclipse will be the first of four we will be able to see over the next two years. The next one will be visible this fall, on October 8th this year, followed by two more in 2015 on April 4th and September 28th.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

For those that can’t get out to see the eclipse, the event will be broadcast live via the internet on Space.com [Link]

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