Total Lunar Eclipse on the Solstice – way cool


TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE: Earlier today, for the first time in 372 years, a total lunar eclipse occurred on the date of the northern winter solstice. Observers in North America were favored with an overhead view as the full Moon slipped in and out of Earth’s eerie red shadow. Jonathan Sabin sends this picture from Ellenton, Florida:

Photo details: 10″ Meade LX200, Nikon D300, prime focus,ISO 1250, 2s exposure

“It was an absolutely gorgeous night for an eclipse!” says Sabin.

Sabin’s photo captured not only the red light at the core of Earth’s shadow caused by sunlight filtering through the stratosphere, but also the “turquoise fringe” caused by our planet’s ozone layer. Pictures like this are golden for researchers who look at the colors of eclipses to diagnose the state of Earth’s atmosphere. See “All-Clear in the Stratosphere,” below.

more images: from Rod Lindley of Dallas, TX; from Kevin R. Witman of Cochranville, Pennsylvania; from John W. O’Neal, II of Amherst, Ohio; from Evan Ludes of Omaha, Nebraska; from John Stetson of Southport, CT; from Mark A. Brown of Carlisle, Pennsylvania; from Giancarlo Ubaldo Nappi of Belo Horizonte MG, Brazil; from Phil Harrington of Long Island, NY; from Mike Mezeul II of Sachse, Texas

See the Lunar Eclipse Photo Gallery

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December 21, 2010 10:20 am

Due to the cloudy skies we missed that one here in The Netherlands.

Lonnie Schubert
December 21, 2010 10:24 am

Stayed up with the kids until nearly three in the morning (local). Beautiful night, and the kids loved it.

December 21, 2010 10:26 am

Drat! We had clouds. No show for my neck of the woods.
I knew I’d get to see a good image here. That one is a beaut.

December 21, 2010 10:31 am

Unfortunately Vancouver was 100% cloud covered so I missed it and the meteor shower… but last week on a clear night I did see one awesome meteor when I looked up into the night sky as a jet flew overhead (which was beautiful too) and to the left a bright flash occurred streaking across the sky.
Really awesome video of the full lunar eclipse of 2010:

WOW! Three celestial events at one time:
Check the Cloud Cover forecast here:
Time of eclipse in Vancouver:
Time of the solstice:
Timing of the Ursids Metoer shower:

P.G. Sharrow
December 21, 2010 10:32 am

Now comes a week of major earthquakes. pg

Rhoda R
December 21, 2010 10:41 am

It was a glorious sight. I pity, though, our remote ancestors who suddenly saw their reliable moon goddes suddenly turn red on them. It must have been terrifying.

December 21, 2010 10:54 am

I missed it due to clouds, I even woke up in the middle of the night and everything. What a dissappointment.

December 21, 2010 10:56 am

I saw a mention of the eclipse on, where they put in a blurb about how it’s OK to look directly at a lunar eclipse with your eye, but doing that with a solar eclipse is bad for your eyes.
I wonder sometimes about disclaimers like that. Are people so stupid that they don’t understand the difference between the direct light from the sun and the indirect light reflected off the moon’s surface (perhaps after being refracted through the earth’s atmosphere to produce the reddish coloration)?
Yeah, they probably are that stupid.

December 21, 2010 10:59 am

Sadly, it was cloudy in my location as we were dealing with more snow, so thanks for posting the links so I could see some pictures of the great show I missed.

R. Shearer
December 21, 2010 11:11 am

Unprecidented…obviously had something to do with moon disruption.

December 21, 2010 11:11 am

Makasih infonya Pak. tulisanya bagus dan panjang, anda dari mana Pak?

December 21, 2010 11:16 am

We enjoyed mild temps here in the Fort Worth area and the sky was clear except for some low-level whispy clouds that moved through, but they reflected a pink patina and it added to the effect. ( pink from the city lights ). I felt fortunate to experience it as so many in the country had cloud cover. For those that missed it, it was pretty cool. First one I’ve watched in I don’t know how long and obviously, this one was special.

December 21, 2010 11:19 am

Away from NH and saw it on Anna Maria Island, FL. Gorgeous color like the picture. Moon hung between Orion and Auriga.

December 21, 2010 11:20 am

drudgereport said it was the first eclipse of its kind in 345 years (or was it 456 years?)
Anyway, I guess this means the poles will shift and a new ice-age begins?

David L
December 21, 2010 11:20 am

Here north of Philly it was a fantastic eclipse. Cloudless night. Stars all over the place. Got an hour’s worth of photos. Frozen fingers as well due to the global warming!

Jimmy Haigh
December 21, 2010 11:27 am

ber-TanyaJawab says:
December 21, 2010 at 11:11 am
Makasih infonya Pak. tulisanya bagus dan panjang, anda dari mana Pak?
I don’t speak much bahasa Malaya/Indonesia. All I know from working ofshore on the oil rigs is: “Hati hati kepala anda”! (Mind your head.)
I didn’t see the eclipse from here in Thailand – it was almost over when the moon rose at 18:24 local time.

Mike McMillan
December 21, 2010 11:27 am

I looked up and all I got was a facefull of snow. Darn global warming.

December 21, 2010 11:29 am

Am I missing something? I want to read “All-Clear in the Stratosphere” that’s referenced in the article.

December 21, 2010 11:30 am

The Monster says, “I saw a mention of the eclipse on, where they put in a blurb about how it’s OK to look directly at a lunar eclipse with your eye, but doing that with a solar eclipse is bad for your eyes.”
You can safely look at a solar eclipse with naked eyes ONLY DURING TOTALITY. That is, only when the moon completely covers the sun. Any bit of the sun shining around the edge can be dangerous, especially after the end of totality. A brief view of the first bit of sun showing through a lunar valley is called the “diamond ring”. It is beautiful, but you can’t look at it for long because the sun is rapidly going to form a crecent again that will cook your retinas (see
The next rather decent solar eclipse in North America will be Aug 21, 2017. See

Baa Humbug
December 21, 2010 11:31 am

ber-TanyaJawab says:
December 21, 2010 at 11:11 am

Makasih infonya Pak. tulisanya bagus dan panjang, anda dari mana Pak?

Anthony says your welcome, yes this was a “good and long post.”
errrr the picture was taken in Florida America.
Here in Brisbane we had our first clear sky in about 2 weeks, but alas, after a long bbq and many beers, I fell asleep, woke up with about 1/8 of the moon eclipsed 🙁

December 21, 2010 11:35 am

Great images, thanks! I enjoyed especially the Sabin image. It looks much like the eclipses we saw over here in 2003 and 2004.
Nothing to see here this time, too low on the horizon, too much fog… and wrong part of the day.
-18.1C outside. Climate disruption indeed.

e. c. cowan
December 21, 2010 11:36 am

I remember seeing a total lunar eclipse decades ago, from the front porch in Santa Monica, CA. I think it may have been the one in March of 1960. It was spooky to see that goldish/brownish color.
Since it was 25 degrees at 11:00PM and I was in pj’s and robe, I did NOT go outside to see the one last night.
Could it have been any more impressive as seen from Carson City, NV?

December 21, 2010 11:36 am

The other story at is more interesting. This clear picture of the red moon is an indication that the stratosphere is clear and not full of particulates, as was the case after major volcanic eruption.

December 21, 2010 11:37 am

I watched it on my Christmas present (early) – a 5″ Cassegrain Telescope, as it came over the horizon at about 8 pm. Magical. I then grabbed a good look at Jupiter. Awesome! But now we’re going to have a week of heavy rain and comparative cold. Where’s our warmer, drier weather please BOM? CSIRO? LIARS!
Merry Christmas, everyone but them!

Baa Humbug
December 21, 2010 11:37 am

Mods you may want to treat TanyaJawabs comment as spam, unless you need a certain part of your anatomy lengthened.

Mac the Knife
December 21, 2010 11:43 am

What a tease… the dance of a thousand veils! Thin overcast up to 11:00pm pst (0700 zulu, just SE of Seattle WA) gave silver fogged , cotton veil views of our orbital companion. An alarm clock driven check at 1:00 – 1:15 am provided only full overcast disappointment. My normal arising at 5:30am provided nearly clear skies and brilliant full moonlight! Of course……
The equivalent of ‘dinner and a movie, with no goodnight kiss ‘! I’m not waiting around for a 2nd date with this one…….

Zeke the Sneak
December 21, 2010 11:46 am

We in the great NW enjoyed atmospheric conditions which included cirrus, nimbus, and cumulus; stratocumulus, nimbustratus, cirrustrato humilis cumulus mediocris fractus!
That’s alright, all sunshine makes a desert. When is the next lunar eclipse? 🙂

tom T
December 21, 2010 11:53 am

Global Warming caused local cloudiness here in Vermont so my wife missed it. I wasn’t about to wake up that early or stay up that late to see something as common as a lunar eclipse.

December 21, 2010 11:55 am

Don’t forget how clear this showed the atmosphere to be – namely little blocking volcanic dust, meaning more sunshine, meaning this accounts for a portion of global warming!

Ian Cooper
December 21, 2010 11:56 am

We drove 160 km (100 miles) to obtain a slightly better view than our friends who stayed home in our part of the North Island of New Zealand. We caught the moon emerging from a cloud bank only a few minutes before the end of totality.
The colour was distinctly red before the limb brightened as the moon emerged from the umbra. The last two T.L.E.’s from here (August 2007, and July 2000) were both brilliant orange. The 2000 event was the longest for 131 years, and was very bright despite being very close to the centre of the umbra. The 2007 event was very similar in colour but a little darker to the naked-eye.
Last night’s eclipse was even darker still, I didn’t do a rating but my general impression is that it was slightly darker than 2007. The conclusion that I get from my three lunar eclipses from the past 11 years is that the atmosphere has become dirtier over the latter stages of the period. Nothing as bad as the dreaded Pinatubo period of the early 90’s, but definitely not as clean as 10 years ago.
After 15 successful total lunar eclipses from here over the past 43 years, I find that they are distinctive in their own way, even the black eclipse of Decmber 30th, 1982 was an intersting, if somewhat strange sight in a clear sky.

December 21, 2010 11:56 am

P.G. Sharrow says:
December 21, 2010 at 10:32 am
“Now comes a week of major earthquakes”.
P.G., your science is settled! A 7.4 struck in the Bonin Islands off Japan today (or is it tomorrow?) Tsunami warning issued.
For a look at the widespread seismic activity today, see:

Jimmy Haigh
December 21, 2010 12:04 pm

Zeke the Sneak says:
December 21, 2010 at 11:46 am
“When is the next lunar eclipse? :-)”
16th June 2011.

December 21, 2010 12:04 pm

Zeke the Sneak says:
December 21, 2010 at 11:46 am
Funny. However this was a different Lunar eclipse. Heading says a lot: “Way cool”….
Nowadays the scientific way is to be “surprised” or just to enjoy it, but nothing about what really happens. There are influences, as tides, etc. In a vibrant and energetic cosmos energies go from one place to the other, thus, some times, events are “way cool”….

Jerker Andersson
December 21, 2010 12:06 pm

I saw it this morning too and showed it for my 6 year old son who experienced his first lunar eclipse before he went to school. Here in southern Sweden it was only partial before it disappeared behind the forest. As allways it is fascinating with those rare astronomical events.
Another thing, dared to mention that the reason why this eclipse is so special is the clear stratosphere due to lack of major volcanic erruptions which also may have contributed 0.2C to the global warming during the past decade.
How dare they to mention any findings of natural causes to the global warming…
We know what could/will happen with those, don’t we?
Btw, we are experiencing record cold over here. Currently the termometer reads -21C and still falling with about 1C/h. A normal 21st december day would read atmost -5C or -10C if it is really cold in the evening. We could need some of that heat piled up at Greenland and NE Canada.

Iggy Slanter
December 21, 2010 12:12 pm

The forecast for days around Toronto was that it was going to be cloudy with flurries. Then on the evening news it was announced that the cloud cover was retreating and it was going to be a clear night for viewing the eclipse. I got up at 2:15 and caught it just before it hit totality at 2:45. It was a brilliant night, even for downtown Toronto. You could see Orion in all his glory to the moon’s south. The moon was in Gemini and you could see a couple of the brighter stars like Castor and Pollux. The whole event was the best lunar eclipse I have seen and I was able to catch some of it with the camera. It was worth the fact that I am useless in the office today.

December 21, 2010 12:19 pm

Beth Sorenstein, Alarmist Press: “Global Warming has reached the moon” scientists say after witnessing worse than they thought reddish color….

December 21, 2010 12:21 pm

Thanks for this, I stayed up, tried to take pictures but the clouds were getting heavier as the eclipse progressed. At the start it was just a light cloud cover and I could even see a large faint ring around the moon, but when it was just about fully covered all I could see was a very small lightish smudge…disappointed I finally went to bed.
However I was fortunate enough to witness one while in Greece, May 2003 I beleive.
Was the first complete one I’d ever seen so clearly and it’s was beautiful, looked like I could pluck that reddish-orange ball right out of the sky. Was amazed at how 3-D it looked compared to the one dimentional look it normally has. Shared a bottle of wine with my significant other as we sat outside and enjoyed the whole thing…absolutely a great show.

December 21, 2010 12:35 pm

Missed it , but with had some very boring clouds instead

December 21, 2010 12:56 pm

Holy crap, someone sacrifice a two headed goat, QUICK! It’s a sign!

Steve C
December 21, 2010 1:01 pm

Saw it off and on going into the eclipse, but too much cloud to see it get there, still less see the colour. That’s a *very* nice pic, though – I’m sinfully jealous of the view you guys got across the Pond.

George E. Smith
December 21, 2010 1:06 pm

Well there are on average seven solar plus lunar eclipses each and every year; and they alternate.
So they aren’t at all uncommon; and lunar eclipses are hardly earth shattering; a good dust storm can make a nice lunar eclipse picture almost any time.
Satellites can make total solar eclipses any time they want to.
But if you saw this one; great; there’ll be another in a few months; maybe not total but it doesn’t make too much difefrence with lunars, because so much light leaks around the earth’s atmosphere.

December 21, 2010 1:09 pm

Went out to look (west of Philly, PA, USA) and found it raw and blustery with no evidence of our vaunted Global Warming, so I retired back to my computer and found several sites streaming it live. Quite a good show.
As to the earthquake predictions, The Ö-Files has a good presentation of earthquakes from USGS 2.5+, USGS 5+, EMSC, and GFZ that you can select. The actual Live Earthquake Mashup is at Mashup Map.

Retired Engineer
December 21, 2010 1:12 pm

Alas, here in so co, just before totality, to paraphrase ‘ol Blue Eyes:
“Send in the clouds”. Brief gaps, still an awsome sight. Haven’t seen
a TLE in a long time. Camera lens (and sensor) totally inadequate.
I’ll leave that to the pros.
Worth getting up at 1am!

December 21, 2010 1:14 pm
December 21, 2010 1:14 pm

Was very disappointed in Massachusetts to have the clouds roll in as the eclipse progressed…didn’t see much after about half-way. Not a lot of payback for staying up til 3 am and going outside in sub-freezing weather.
Hoping for better luck next time.

Honest ABE
December 21, 2010 1:18 pm

Rhoda R says:
December 21, 2010 at 10:41 am
“It was a glorious sight. I pity, though, our remote ancestors who suddenly saw their reliable moon goddes suddenly turn red on them. It must have been terrifying.”
Well, in comparison to their terrestrial goddesses, at least Diana only goes red for a few hours instead of a few days.

Zeke the Sneak
December 21, 2010 1:20 pm

Enneagram says:
December 21, 2010 at 12:04 pm
In a vibrant and energetic cosmos energies go from one place to the other, thus, some times, events are “way cool”….
I like that. I can appreciate the sychrony or simultinaety of the solstice and the eclipse happening at the same time, UNLIKE George E Smith. 😉 Merry Christmas in our beautiful, boundless, dynamic Electric Universe.

Common Sense
December 21, 2010 1:21 pm

Beautiful! We had some thin, hazy clouds, but could still see it pretty well.
My daughter commented on how cool it would have been to have these 2 events coincide with the meteor shower last week. She stayed outside for hours watching it.

December 21, 2010 1:23 pm

Nice correlation:
The eclipse was the first total lunar eclipse to occur on the day of the Northern Winter Solstice (Southern Summer Solstice) since 1638, and only the second in the Common Era.
1638….just beginning Maunder minimum.

Bill Jamison
December 21, 2010 1:49 pm

Down here in SoCal we had no chance to see the eclipse due to the unrelenting rains. I’m glad I got to see the one in August of 2007 while up in the Black Rock Desert for Burning Man – perfect spot for viewing it!
btw your link to is bad, it links to wuwt/spaceweather instead.

Denis of Perth
December 21, 2010 1:51 pm

You have obviously been consumed by some wikileaks, and does that mean they piss themselves?

John M
December 21, 2010 2:20 pm

The great thing about lunar eclipses is that they are not always the classic “blood red” color. I can remember one that was a deep purple. The oddest one I saw had almost no color, just a dull gray sphere that looked for all the world like a dimly lit cue ball hanging in space.

December 21, 2010 2:38 pm

Too cloudy here in Tauranga New Zealand. Other parts of the country had a good view I’m informed. Hope fully June 2011 and Dec 2011 will provide us with a better show.

December 21, 2010 3:04 pm
Stephen Brown
December 21, 2010 3:22 pm

Just after 0710 (British Winter Time) on 21/12/2010, gin-clear morning after a cracking overnight frost, still dark, driving into Chichester, West Sussex from the south. I stopped at the side of the road, as did number of others, and watched a low-in-the-sky full moon turn colour. The colour transformation was enhanced by the reflection from the snow and frost on the fields around.
It’s now 2320 on the same day, we’ve got freezing fog and zero visibility of the sky.

John F. Hultquist
December 21, 2010 3:26 pm

Rhoda R says:
December 21, 2010 at 10:41 am
thegoodlocust says:
December 21, 2010 at 1:18 pm
This isn’t exactly the same, but close:

December 21, 2010 3:49 pm

i got out 4 times during the night too watch this but there was to much cloud has usual…. here in Quebec we always miss everything because of the cloud.

December 21, 2010 3:57 pm

Missed the eclipse here in Northern Ireland due to bank of freezing fog to NW. Some people locally did catch glimpses of it. Totality was in progress at moonset and sunrise. Incidentally, while the eclipse was proceding behind the fog, my weather station (unaccredited) was recording an all time minimum, -13.6C, since I started records in 1993. The way things are going tonight that record may not last for long.

December 21, 2010 3:59 pm

Looked great from a frosty and clear Yorkshire at 8am this morning. Just wish I’d had the photographic gear available to do it justice.

Keith Minto
December 21, 2010 4:02 pm

In Canberra, the eclipsed moon rose in the North East at 8:35 following the Sun set in the South West as the three bodies form a straight line and was nicely framed by the trees. Only the top left was eclipsed in this location, no colour noticeable by me, just a greying out like a neutral density filter.
How could any mortal gazing at this not realise that the Earth is round/spherical?

December 21, 2010 5:06 pm

HaroldW says:
December 21, 2010 at 1:14 pm
Was very disappointed in Massachusetts to have the clouds roll in as the eclipse progressed…didn’t see much after about half-way. Not a lot of payback for staying up til 3 am and going outside in sub-freezing weather. . .

I heard it was Tuesday night, i.e. tonight! Oops! Oh well, I’m in Massachusetts too, so I didn’t miss much. It was snowing when I got up this morning.
/Mr Lynn

E O'Connor
December 21, 2010 5:50 pm

Zeke -When is the next lunar eclipse?
For future and the way way past go to

December 21, 2010 6:48 pm

Here’s what it looked like in Canberra, Australia, just after sunset:
More images linked in the comments.
Afterwards, the moon was so huge and bright for most of the night that it was like a spotlight shining onto my curtains. Awesome.

D. King
December 21, 2010 7:42 pm

Here is a Time-lapse complete with ethereal music.

Robert Wykoff
December 21, 2010 8:23 pm

Enjoyed it here in Reno…a little chilly, not bad. It looked like Orion was playing basketball. Radio said it would make the snow on the ground look cool, didn’t see anything in the snow…maybe should have headed out somewhere truly dark like Black Rock hotsprings for it. Will be there for 18th annual new years.

December 21, 2010 8:52 pm

I note you comment about the coincidence of the date with that for the start of the Maunder Minimum.
I’m not much into numerology but have noticed that Piers Corbyn keeps giving hints about the influence of the cycles of the moon on the varying solar magnet flux and about the length of the double sunspot cycle.
He has the unfortunate knack of being able to accurately forecast most of the time.
So far I do not see much evidence for anything in the temperature or rainfall that cannot be explained by the change in the normal 60 odd year cycle from the hot-dry to the cold-wet phase.
I feel we should keep looking out for a big cycle change which could point the way you are suggesting.
Keeping an open mind is very difficult (including keeping open to the possibility that the warmists are actuall right, despite all their evidence being, how can I put it, XXXX).
Mind you, Mendel seems to have been right despite having a rather creative approach to his data.
Still it’s very unseasonally cold and wet here in most of Australia at present.

December 21, 2010 11:48 pm

So the “All clear…” article referenced in the text was indeed “below” on the site, and noted that the stratosphere has been clear of volcanic particles since 1996, and that this in itself has contributed ca 0.2 C to “recent warming”….
Now I’m thankful that it’s only -15.6 C outside, rather than -15.8. 🙂

Dave (UK)
December 22, 2010 12:29 am

Happy New Year!

Jose Suro
December 22, 2010 2:10 am

I made this image from my backyard at 3:41am EST with one of my telescopes. We had one of the clearest nights in memory.

December 22, 2010 2:54 am

In Sacramento we had the cloud cover for most of the evening, then a strange thing happened. The clouds dissipated to reveal a partial eclipse. Seemed miraculous to me. The cloud kept retreating all the way through to totality leaving the sky crystal clear. Then just as the first sliver of the returning light started to show on the moon, the cloud slowly coalesced until it covered the sky.
The clouds departure and return seemed to be orchestrated by the eclipse. Makes me wonder if there might be a connection or mechanism.

December 22, 2010 6:36 am

Your link at the top does not work. — John M Reynolds

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