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Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Lunar Eclipse to be visible from Scotland

If you're up and about already in the UK (like me) then keep an eye on the skies (if you can see anything through the snow clouds) because there's going to be a total lunar eclipse this morning, when the Earth casts a shadow onto the Moon.

On the day of the winter solstice, December 21, the full Moon will start to pass through the cone of Earth's shadow at 6.32am. The partial eclipse begins when the Moon first enters the dark inner, umbral part of the Earth's shadow, and will become a total eclipse at 7.40am. It will reach its maximum at 8.17am, and end at 8.53am.

And what's even better is that from locations in Scotland and Northern Ireland, totality will be visible in its entirety, although the Moon will be low down after the time of greatest eclipse.

John Mason, from the British Astronomical Association, said: "Observers should go out at about 6.30am when, if the sky is clear, the Moon will be visible in the western sky, and they will be able to watch as more and more of the southern part of the Moon becomes immersed in the Earth's shadow. They can continue watching until the eclipse becomes total at 7.40am, and hopefully for a little while after this time, if they have an unobstructed western horizon."

Dr Mason added: "For observers in the British Isles, the very low elevation of the Moon during the total phase means that it is not possible to predict just how dark the Moon will be when it is eclipsed, or what colour it will appear. One will just have to go out and have a look."

So, there you go. Good luck!

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