An event known as a total lunar eclipse will occur tomorrow morning where a full moon will turn deep red as it moves into Earth’s shadow. This will be the last total eclipse that Ireland will see for another five years.
From 6:32am on Tuesday 21st December, the moon will gradually get darker as Earth’s shadow casts upon it, and will eventually engulf the moon in a complete shadow by 7:40am. This occurs just before sunlight spills into Newgrange on the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice.
The total lunar eclipse occurs on the same day as the winter solstice, ensuring onlookers will have lots to see. This is the first time the two events have coincided in nearly four-hundred years. According to David Moore, the chairman of Astronomy Ireland (@AstronomyIRL):
“This has scared the living daylights out of people in the past especially if they are not expecting it.
“With both the lunar eclipse and solstice on the same day, there is going to be lots to see.”
Astronomy Ireland will be meeting in Sean Moore Park in Sandymount, Dublin, for their annual winter solstice watch. Moore stated:
“After watching the lunar eclipse, observers can watch the sun rise, lined up with a modern standing stone alignment in the park.”
Nasa will be broadcasting live real-time video of the eclipse and a live chat with Dr. Rob Suggs, NASA’s Space Environments Team Leader in NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Cente, and Mitzi Adams, NASA veteran and solar expert. The video camera will be broadcasting from NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama and can be viewed on NASA’s Lunar Eclipse page.
Image courtesy of University Today.