Winter Solstice this year coincides with full lunar eclipse after 456 years

Winter Solstice this year coincides with full lunar eclipse after 456 years

According to NASA, the winter solstice – the shortest day of the year - will coincide with a full lunar eclipse this year; making it the first time since 1554 that such an incident has occurred.

Talking about the coincident ocurenec of the winter solstice and the full lunar eclipse on the same day after 456 years, Robert Dick, an astronomy instructor at Carleton, said: “It's quite rare, but there's no profound significance. It's luck of the draw; you got dealt four aces.”

Meanwhile, the total eclipse of the moon - which can be seen completely in North and Central America from 11:41 p. m. PST Monday till 12:53 a. m. Tuesday - also happens to be the first such eclipse in nearly three years. The last full lunar eclipse occurred on February 20, 2008; and the next total lunar eclipse for the entire American continent will occur on April 14-15, 2014.

In addition, the forthcoming eclipse will also be the second of two eclipses in 2010; with the first one being a partial lunar eclipse that occurred on June 26 this year.

The eclipse will last for 72 minutes in all, after which the moon will start emerging from the Earth’s inner shadow, or umbra, coming totally out of it at 2:01 a. m. PST on Tuesday. While Europe will be able to catch a glimpse of the start of the lunar eclipse; Japan will be catching its culmination.

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