Northern Winter Solstice Lunar Eclipse

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010 at 1:19 PM by   

Have you seen this video from William Castleman?  It’s a wonderful time lapse of 2010’s Winter Solstice lunar eclipse.  I’m actually quite glad to come across this video, because here in San Jose, California, it was cloudy – just enough to lose site of the moon when it was ready to peak at full red glory.

Why was I happy to see this video?

While total lunar eclipses are common (the next will be on June 15, 2011), having a lunar eclipse on the date of the northern winter solstice is incredibly rare.  Geoff Chester or the US Naval Observatory researched a list of eclipses going back 2000 years.  He says, “Since year 1, I can only find one previous instance of an eclipse matching the same calendar date as the solstice, and that is 1638 DEC 21… Fortunately we won’t have to wait 372 years for the next one… that will be on 2094 DEC 21.”

Whew.  That’s good to know.  Hopefully I’ll make it to 117 years old to see it.