Clearer skies over North America's eastern regions offered some of the best viewing of Tuesday's early-morning total lunar eclipse, the first lunar eclipse to occur on the winter solstice since 1632. Make plans now for the next total lunar eclipse to be widely viewable in North America on a winter solstice. The date: Dec. 21, 2094.
The eclipse was the first total lunar eclipise with the potential to be viewed coast-to-coast in North America since 2007. Cloudy conditions on the west side of the continent obscured views in many areas. The Boston Globe and Vancouver (B.C.) Sun presented interesting photo galleries related to the eclipse, and astrophotograher William Castleman has posted a 2-minute time-lapse video of the event.
According to NASA, the earth's shadow began cutting into the full moon's circle at 1:33 a.m. EST on Tuesday morning (Dec. 21). The eclipse reached totality at 2:41 a.m. EST, lasting 72 minutes. The moon was deepest in earth's shadow at 3:17 a.m. EST.
Two total lunar eclipses are expected in 2011, but neither will be widely viewable in North America.
(Note: This post contains updated content; our original report published Dec. 20 previewed the eclipse.)