Total lunar eclipse, winter solstice coincide

December 21, 2010 5:27:21 AM PST
Chicago's Adler Planetarium threw a party overnight to celebrate a rare event as the total lunar eclipse coincided with the winter solstice.

Astronomers, educators and volunteers will help the public peer into the skies from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. at Chicago's Adler Planetarium during the Total Lunar Eclipse Party, adlerplanetarium.org. Weather permitting, sky gazers across the North, Central and South America will get to see the entire eclipse. The event is free to the public.

The Adler will provide telescopes though visitors can also bring their own.

    Winter Solstice Eclipse Schedule:
  • 12:32 A.M. CST - Partial eclipse
  • 1:40 A.M. CST - Total eclipse begins
  • 2:17 A.M. CST - Point of the greatest eclipse

A total lunar eclipse takes place when a full moon passes through the shadow of the earth, which blocks the light from the sun and casts a shadow across the entire moon.

The next total lunar eclipse visible in Chicago won't be until April 15, 2014. The next one that falls on a winter solstice, which marks the start of winter and is the longest night of the year, will be on December 21, 2094.


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