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Lunar Eclipse 12-20-10

Lunar Eclipse 12-20-10, aurora borealis photo from Alaska

The "Lunar Eclipse 12-20-10" Experience

North America was a great place to be for the total "Lunar Eclipse 2010" (see map below). In Alaska, the lunar eclipse began on December 20, 2010 at 9:33 pm AST (Alaska Standard Time) and it looked like a bite had been taken out of the moon (photo 1). The bite size grew (photo 2) and by 10:41 pm AST totality commenced (photo 3) and lasted for 72 minutes. In eastern (EST) and central (CST) time this occurred on the winter solstice, 12/21/10, but with the Alaska time change (4 hours behind EST) the lunar eclipse fell primarily on 12/20/10.

Why is the moon orange during a lunar eclipse?
Imagine yourself standing on the bright white full moon (you'll need sunglasses at first). When the sun aligns itself directly behind our planet and the earth's shadow falls on the moon you are now standing in the lunar eclipse (shades come off). The earth blocks direct sunlight from reaching you but a brilliant fiery orange ring of light surrounds the circumference of the earth as sunlight filters through our atmosphere. This is every sunrise and sunset around the world seen at once. A stunning view from your lunar vantage point! This copper red glow reaches the moon and casts an eerie amber mood light on the lunar surface all around you. Ecliptic twilight.

Personal experience: I raced out to the Anchorage Int'l Airport to pick up my parents who were visiting for the holidays. Their flight arrived at 9:30 pm, coincidently just as the eclipse started so we quickly drove to the nearby Earthquake Park and joined in a lunar party that was already underway. My parents couldn't believe everyone's enthusiasm in 10° F. Made me proud of my fellow Alaskans! Just after the moon went fully eclipsed the clouds came over and obscured the show. That was OK; we had caught the onset and experienced a stellar event.

Photograph Information:

Year: 2010
Aperture: f/5.6
Shutter: 1/13 sec
ISO: 3200
Shot with a Nikon D300 using a Sigma 300-800mm lens.
Todd