Total Lunar Eclipse Is Coming! What You Need to Know to See the Spectacular Sight

Julie Ryan Evans

full lunar eclipseA total lunar eclipse is coming, and it's going to be cool one. For the first time in 372 years, it's going to happen at the same time as the Winter Solstice, and according Live Science, the Ursid Metor Shower could also add to the ambiance.

You have to be prepared to give up some sleep in order to see it. The event -- when the moon is completely in the earth's shadow and blocked from the sun that usually illuminates it -- will begin Monday or Tuesday evening depending where you live. It will start at 9:30 p.m. Pacific Time Monday for those on the West Coast, and about 12:30 a.m. Tuesday on the East Coast. The maximum viewing time is said to be 3:17 a.m. EST/12:17 a.m. PST Tuesday, December 21.

So what can you expect to see?

According to, we won't really know until it happens.

"This is determined by weather conditions around the Earth's rim at the time of the eclipse, as the sun's light is colored and refracted inward by thousands of sunsets and sunrises. If the air is clear around the rim of the Earth, the eclipse may be quite light; if cloudy, quite dark. Again, depending on those sunrises and sunsets, the moon may appear orange, red, dark brown or slate gray."

I'm rooting for clear skies and a red moon, but I'm debating if I should wake my 7-year-old up to witness it. Since the next total lunar eclipse won't happen until 2014, I'm leaning toward rousing him.

NASA has some great information that delves deeper into eclipses, and they're also hosting several events including live chats and live coverage of the event if it's too cold outside for you or you want to watch from the comfort of your bed on a laptop.

Now, if I could just get that Kim Carnes song, "Total Eclipse of the Heart," out of my head ...

Are you planning to watch the Lunar Eclipse?

Image via Randy Son of Robert/Flickr

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