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Total Lunar Eclipse Tonight!
December 20, 2010 8:29 AM   Subscribe


 
Already sacrificing small animals in hopes of the gods giving me clear skies tonight.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:35 AM on December 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


It's like, you ask yourself how much more black could tonight be? and the answer is none. None more black.
posted by 2bucksplus at 8:35 AM on December 20, 2010 [29 favorites]


Clouds, clouds, and more clouds, alas....
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:37 AM on December 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's even more special when you consider that 372 years ago, 'Total Eclipse of the Heart' had yet to be recorded.
posted by box at 8:40 AM on December 20, 2010 [10 favorites]


I am so looking forward to this once in a lifetime chance to not see the moon!
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 8:41 AM on December 20, 2010 [9 favorites]


I said it before and I'll say it again:

Why not just HAND US over the Vampires? Sheesh,
posted by The Whelk at 8:44 AM on December 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Already sacrificing small animals in hopes of the gods giving me clear skies tonight.

small animals won't do - elephants and whales - we can't find any here in michigan so we're doomed to cloudy weather

someone must have sacrificed them all 372 years ago
posted by pyramid termite at 8:45 AM on December 20, 2010


The actual solstice is on the 21st at 11:38 PM, but it is neat that they are within a day of each other.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:45 AM on December 20, 2010


I did the math (2010 - 372 = 1638). This is before Newton was born, and people dressed like this.
posted by xtian at 8:46 AM on December 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have nothing new to wear.
posted by Ardiril at 8:47 AM on December 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


This site best viewed in Chrome?

Seriously, that space.com page is annoying.

The Space people need to get with the Gazette people and figure out exactly how many years it'll be to the next one.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:47 AM on December 20, 2010


WE MUST ALIGHT THE BONFIRE TO ASSURE THE SUN'S SAFE PASSAGE THROUGH THE UNDERWORLD.

I"ll BRING CHIPS.
posted by The Whelk at 8:47 AM on December 20, 2010 [6 favorites]


Fingers crossed, virgins sacrificed, etc, but it looks like it's gonna be cloudy here too. And we're not even gonna get any snow out of it either. Boo :(
posted by NoraReed at 8:47 AM on December 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


We've got a Nor'easter passing far enough off the coast to deny us a kickass snowstorm, but close enough that we'll have cloud cover for the next three days.

Bummer.
posted by rollbiz at 8:48 AM on December 20, 2010


Pity it won't be properly visible over most of Europe. Here in Denmark we might catch the first half, before the dawn drowns out the spectacle. You'd have to be significantly further North or West to catch much more or it...
posted by Dysk at 8:49 AM on December 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Won't see it here either. Oh well .....
posted by blucevalo at 8:50 AM on December 20, 2010


At maximum darkness (12:17 a.m, PST) close your eyes and you will see the letters BMW floating where the moon was.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:51 AM on December 20, 2010 [6 favorites]


According to yoursky, it'll be in the eastern part of my sky. though sadly, low enough I'm going to have to go outside instead of seeing it through the skylight. If my estimates are correct, it will be above the treeline though.

I hope the predicted snowstorm holds off long enough for me to watch it.
posted by quin at 8:52 AM on December 20, 2010


Clouds, clouds, and more clouds, alas....

Yeah, here too. There's a tiny chance that there will be a break in the storms, as there was last night and early this morning - the moon was brilliant when I got up this morning. But I'm not holding my breath, or catching any animals for a sacrifice.
posted by rtha at 8:54 AM on December 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Tuuuuurn around......
posted by schmod at 8:55 AM on December 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


On the night of an eclipse, the sacrifice must be large... because it's not like you have a bunch of moonlight guiding your knife-hand.


Geez, do I have to think of everything around here?

posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:59 AM on December 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Pretty much every moment, some arbitrary astronomical event is happening which hasn't happened for some arbitrary length of time.
posted by empath at 8:59 AM on December 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


Pretty much every moment, some arbitrary astronomical event is happening which hasn't happened for some arbitrary length of time.

Thank you for sharing your disinterest with us.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:01 AM on December 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


"On the East Coast of North America, the lunar eclipse begins half an hour after midnight on Tuesday; on the West Coast, it begins around 9:30 p.m. PST Monday."

Thank goodness for that bit about PST Monday, or I would have had no idea when this was. Since midnight is neither on Monday or Tuesday, a better phrasing would have been: "the lunar eclipse begins on Tuesday, half an hour after midnight." Because this identifies the eclipse as beginning on Tuesday, while leaving midnight alone. To show the contrast to the doubters/haters(/hardcore taters/tardcore haters), the following sentence also makes sense, but means something different: "the lunar eclipse begins on Tuesday, half an hour before midnight."
posted by Eideteker at 9:01 AM on December 20, 2010


ALL OF THESE BAGS OF FLESH FILLED WITH DELICIOUS BLOOD ARE YOURS, EXCEPT THE WHELK. ATTEMPT NO BITINGS THERE, 'CAUSE WE'RE NOT SURE WHAT WILL HAPPEN.
posted by nomadicink at 9:02 AM on December 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ah, I see that I wasn't 100% clear. What I'm saying is that:

1. There is no "midnight Tuesday," which is what the "half an hour after" here refers to.
2. Therefore, it's unclear as written if the person is referring to the midnight between Monday and Tuesday or between Tuesday and Wednesday.
posted by Eideteker at 9:04 AM on December 20, 2010


That video is creepy, and I say this as someone who went to boarding school and had adolesent fantasies about several of my teachers.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:05 AM on December 20, 2010


"Pretty much every moment, some arbitrary astronomical event is happening which hasn't happened for some arbitrary length of time."

But this isn't arbitrary. 372 years is longer than any demonstrated human lifespan (and far beyond the mean), meaning this is almost certainly a once-in-a-lifetime event. It is up to the reader to decide if the event itself is worth witnessing.
posted by Eideteker at 9:06 AM on December 20, 2010


The waterbenders will be powerless for three hours. Attack!

Because they are kind of annoying.
posted by little cow make small moo at 9:06 AM on December 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


According to a colleague who's reading me bits of a Guardian article, us lucky UKers who can see the sky will be able to see the sun and the total eclipse at the same time.

That could be a cool and funky panorama...
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 9:13 AM on December 20, 2010


Since when have UKers been able to see the sky between September and May? Boy, things have changed since Labour was ousted!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:15 AM on December 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Can I ask what is up with the impossible-to-close modal pop-up for Google Chrome? I have to refresh a few times before it goes away.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 9:16 AM on December 20, 2010


> Pretty much every moment, some arbitrary astronomical event is happening which hasn't happened for some arbitrary length of time.

Your favorite phenomenon of symmetry and/or alignment SUCKS.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:26 AM on December 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


So is this a really good day or a really bad day to play Nethack?
posted by octothorpe at 9:27 AM on December 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


Lunar eclipses are pretty nice, the sunlight refracted through the Earth's atmosphere often means the Moon doesn't disappear completely but has a coppery or orangey colour. There's no real significance to the fact that it occurs so close to the solstice apart from the fact that in the Northern hemisphere there's the maximum length of darkness to view it in (although in the UK, the Moon will set before third umbral contact, cutting the eclipse short). Certainly the eclipse itself is nothing special (relative to other eclipses) - because of the Saros Cycle, the total lunar eclipse of December 31, 2028 will be very similar to this one.

Lunar eclipses in and of themselves happen pretty regularly - total ones happen every two or three years IIRC - and are much more likely to be visible from a given location than a solar eclipse.
posted by Electric Dragon at 9:33 AM on December 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well there is the whole blood-red moon on the longest night of the year thing.
posted by The Whelk at 9:35 AM on December 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm going to climb on my roof and wave my hand around in the light that is being refracted around the Earth at the Moon, so keep an eye out for my gigantic hand shadow on the moon.
posted by orme at 9:35 AM on December 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


There is no "midnight Tuesday," which is what the "half an hour after" here refers to.

Midnight is 0000, Noon is 1200. 0000 is the first minute of the day, 2359 is the last minute of the day.The date changes at the moment that the local civil clock advances from 23:59:59* to 00:00:00. Therefore, Midnight Tuesday is the minute before 0001 Tuesday, and is on Tuesday.

Related: This is also why on 12 hours clocks, 0000=12:00am (first minute of the morning half of the clock) and 1200=12:00pm (first minute of the evening half).

Having said that -- American Airlines realizes that this is confusing, which is why things like held reservations expire at 23:59 (or 11:59pm) Tuesday, not 0000. The latter might be confused, but the former is clearly the last minute of Tuesday. It's also why we say Midnight and Noon -- while people may be confused about when 12:00am and 12:00pm are, they're not about Midnight and Noon.

If you remember that clocks count from 0, not 1, this becomes easy to understand and remember. The 60 minutes in an hour are numbered 00 to 59, not 01 to 60**, thus, everything starts at 0000, and 0000 on the day of this posting was Monday, not Sunday.

* or 23:59:60 in the rare case of a leap second.

**00 to 60 is a error -- hours don't have 61 minutes.
posted by eriko at 9:38 AM on December 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


If you remember that clocks count from 0, not 1, this becomes easy to understand and remember.

And it hits me, I'm wrong here: On 12 hour clocks, hours count from 1, minutes and seconds count from zero. I've spent too much time on 24 hours clocks, where all count from zero.
posted by eriko at 9:42 AM on December 20, 2010


Clearly this is a sign that me and all the other Seattle MeFites should have an impromptu meet-up so we can discuss just how cool this must look if we could actually see it.
posted by Relay at 9:46 AM on December 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I'm confused. If the solstice is Tuesday night, does that mean the Tuesday night is the longest night of the year? Or is it tonight? Because as Burhanistan mentioned, it seems like the events are two nights apart, even if they are on the same date.
posted by Toothless Willy at 9:50 AM on December 20, 2010


The Empire State Building is not planning to stay open later than 1am tonight, SADFACE OF WOE. How dare they impede my geeky desires.

I will absolutely not suggest that all NYC mefites call them and demand extended eclipse viewing hours. That would be wrong.

MOONBURGER
posted by elizardbits at 9:51 AM on December 20, 2010


How fortuitous! My friends and I are watching Twilight: Eclipse (with Rifftrax, of course) tonight! We couldn't have timed it better if we'd tried.

It's too bad the normally gorgeous San Diego weather is going to prevent us from seeing the astronomical eclipse...
posted by natabat at 10:20 AM on December 20, 2010


Toothless -- As Burhanistan hints above:
The eclipse happens before dawn on the 21st.
The solstice, i.e. the longest night of the year, happens after sunset on the 21st.

It IS confusing and the source of the confusion is that officially a day starts in the middle of the night. We don't usually think of it but each calendar day has two nights, the one that it start in and the one that it ends in.

My Jewish girlfriend and I celebrate solstice rather than hanukkah or christmas, and I had been planning a surprise that night by taking her out to the eclipse only to find out that the eclipse was the night before solstice despite what everyone was saying. Close enough for science, close enough for hippies.
posted by thetruthisjustalie at 10:36 AM on December 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Awesome. This is happening around 8 AM here. And it will *still* be dark for probably another hour after that.

(High latitudes boggle my brain.)
posted by iamkimiam at 10:38 AM on December 20, 2010


www.youtube.com/watch?v=lj-x9ygQEGA
Just for you, The 10th Regiment of Foot.
posted by cccorlew at 10:39 AM on December 20, 2010


But it's at least -5ºC. I don't know what that means, other than the chant in my head that perpetually sounds like "ITS COLD ITS COLD HOLY HECK ITS COLD ITS COLD HOLY HECK ITS COLD ITS COLD HOLY HECK ITS COLD ITS COLD HOLY HECK ITS COLD ITS COLD HOLY HECK ITS COLD ITS COLD HOLY HECK..."

At least the sky will be clear. I'm going to put on everything I own and have ever knitted and stand outside by myself staring at the disappearing moon like an idiot.
posted by iamkimiam at 10:41 AM on December 20, 2010


I always assumed a new moon was a lunar eclipse.



This site Lunar eclipse best viewed in Chrome.

One day...
posted by doublehappy at 10:42 AM on December 20, 2010


Well, time to go to Costco for tampons.
posted by I love you more when I eat paint chips at 10:45 AM on December 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Taranis loves the bright flames of a wicker man burning during an eclipse on the solstice. I think we will have a good harvest this year. I say we put in everyone who points out that the solstice is the next night. Everyone will be happier that way.
posted by Humanzee at 10:47 AM on December 20, 2010


NASA says the next one is in 2094. (so theoretically within the lifetime of some who are alive now. alas, I find it unlikely I will live to be 120. double alas, tonight's skies are likely to be cloudy around here.)
posted by epersonae at 11:06 AM on December 20, 2010


"Midnight is 0000, Noon is 1200."

Only if you want to be all digital about it. If you're looking at it in a continuous, analog way, there's a momentary discontinuity. Midnight is not a second. It is the instant in between (between ~ mid) Monday and Tuesday. You can take the limit of x/y as y approaches 0, but you have to specify which direction you're approaching from (the answer is quite different depending on which you pick). As I said, both of these are completely correct, but refer to totally different times:

"The lunar eclipse begins on Tuesday, half an hour after midnight."
"The lunar eclipse begins on Tuesday, half an hour before midnight."

Indeed, the style guide where I work dictates that midnight is the end of the day, not the beginning of the next. "Do not say, The bomb went off at midnight today. In a morning newspaper, that should be last midnight." That's not exactly what I said, but the concept is the same. (It also disagrees with you on the technical point: "midnight technically ends a day; the new one starts at 12:01 a.m." but I disagree there; as I said, midnight is an instantaneous thing, belonging to neither side. It's not a time so much as a concept (yes I know time is a concept thank you).).
posted by Eideteker at 11:18 AM on December 20, 2010


elizardbits, I demand we go out for Moonburgers!
posted by Eideteker at 11:20 AM on December 20, 2010


Octothorpe: "You are lucky! Full moon tonight."
posted by kimota at 11:31 AM on December 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


"A rare event not seen in 372 years will occur early Tuesday morning,

The next one? A week from thursday.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:31 AM on December 20, 2010


At the moment the sun is shining and my fingers are crossed. The forecast is partly cloudy and the eclipse will be full for about an hour, so I think I will get to see it. The last time I saw one it was not red; it was more like Sienna Brown, Prismacolor # 945. Then the New Orleans Times-Picayune put a color picture of it on the front page the next day and colored the sucker red with their photoshop.
posted by bukvich at 11:32 AM on December 20, 2010


).).

I'm not familiar with that emoticon. Pair of frowny pirates? Wolverine claws?
posted by Rock Steady at 11:32 AM on December 20, 2010


It'll be around 1:30AM here in NY. Who's gonna watch it???
posted by Cindyrella at 11:32 AM on December 20, 2010


iamkimiam : But it's at least -5ºC. I don't know what that means, other than the chant in my head that perpetually sounds like "ITS COLD ITS COLD HOLY HECK ITS COLD ITS COLD...

I have a similar chant, only mine is because it's -5°F, not counting a wind-chill, and I'm left thinking COLDCOLDCOLDWHYDOILIVEINTHISFUCKINGSTATECOLDCOLDCOLD over and over.

I'm developing this rule in my head that suggests that if there is a "-" before either a °C or a °F, it's too damn cold.
posted by quin at 11:35 AM on December 20, 2010


I always assumed a new moon was a lunar eclipse.

A new moon is the sun shining on the side of the moon we can't see.

A lunar eclipse is the sun shining on the side of the moon we can see -- a full moon -- except that everything lines up just right for the earth's shadow to fall onto the moon creating the eclipse.
posted by ook at 11:38 AM on December 20, 2010


According to Environment Canada the weather for PEI tonight:

Rain at times heavy beginning late this evening. Rainfall amount 20 mm. Wind northeast 30 km/h gusting to 50 increasing to 50 gusting to 80 near midnight then to 70 gusting to 100. Temperature steady near plus 3.

I would seriously rather just get some snow. Stupid climate change.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:07 PM on December 20, 2010


Tuuuuurn around......

Pan the room...
posted by homunculus at 12:23 PM on December 20, 2010


Thanks, thetruthisjustalie. When I read the time of day for each event, I thought, "But... they're different nights, not simultaneous at all," so I started googling but every headline said "ECLIPSE SAME TIME AS SOLSTICE" so I doubted myself and figured I was missing something.
posted by Toothless Willy at 12:32 PM on December 20, 2010


Looking forward to the blood moon! It's supposed to clear up in the late afternoon, so there's a good chance we'll see Hati catch up with his prey.
posted by Kevin Street at 1:52 PM on December 20, 2010


"A rare event not seen in 372 years will occur early Tuesday morning, when a total lunar eclipse coincides with the winter solstice."

Not only that - it also occurs on the summer solstice!
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:46 PM on December 20, 2010


I'm developing this rule in my head that suggests that if there is a "-" before either a °C or a °F, it's too damn cold.

As a general rule, if there's a '-' before the F then there's probably one before the C too...
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 2:47 PM on December 20, 2010


Auuuugh, stop snowing!

Signed,
Clear-Sky-Wanters of the Metro Boston Area
posted by naoko at 3:33 PM on December 20, 2010


An eclipse on the solstice? I'll bring the mead, cloaks, and unkempt beards!
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:49 PM on December 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


As far as I can tell, the full eclipse will be viewable in Sydney at 6:53 PM onwards - should roughly coincide with the moonrise, just to make it bigger & bloodier. Clear blue skies here, sunny & 23 degrees celsius. Damn, I just realised the sun doesn't set until about 8:30 PM.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:16 PM on December 20, 2010


Here's the situation for Melbourne.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:22 PM on December 20, 2010


Lunar eclipse on the winter solstice. If I were pagan, I'd be pretty ecstatic.

Who am I kidding? I'm already ecstatic.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:51 PM on December 20, 2010


Hope I don't get locked in a closet like last time...
posted by wam at 8:33 PM on December 20, 2010




In my little bit of eastern North America, it's cloudy, but you can still see the moon through the clouds. I hope to stay up long enough to see the moon turn red. It's only a few minutes now. After that, I'll go to bed.
posted by nangar at 10:36 PM on December 20, 2010


Solstice miracle! The sky has cleared in SF!
posted by rtha at 10:59 PM on December 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


That sure is some rusty bruised-looking celestial body up there.
posted by tangerine at 11:38 PM on December 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I howled! Hopefully that will scare the wolf and the Moon can get away.

It's fascinating how the Earth's shadow seems to come from a different direction each time. This time it's the lower left hand corner and the last little sliver of white was on the upper right.
posted by Kevin Street at 12:07 AM on December 21, 2010


Empath wrote
Pretty much every moment, some arbitrary astronomical event is happening which hasn't happened for some arbitrary length of time.


Yeah, but not so many impressive ones that can be seen by the naked eye. The last total one was >2yrs ago......

Cold here in tahoe, ca, saw about 45 mins of umbration to almost totality. Yum yum, rusty brown (not black) moon with arced sliver of silvern glimmery light before dissapearing behind the pesky clouds. Thanks, 285,000 mile-long shadow of the moon!
posted by lalochezia at 12:11 AM on December 21, 2010


Moon looked all embarassed and shit.

neat!
posted by orme at 12:45 AM on December 21, 2010


It was pretty hazy here (British Columbia), but I got to see it! I even managed to drag the mister out of his warm bed about mid-eclipse. (Yes, he still loves me.)
posted by deborah at 1:35 AM on December 21, 2010


In the last hundred or so years we've seen the rise of radio, photography, television and the internet. We travel around in metal boxes, cages, and tubes, all powered by really old plants. You can get literature and music and pornography pretty much anywhere, delivered, and we've got skyscrapers and bridges and rollercoasters that'll make you shit yourself. We re-engineer rivers and mountains and plants and animals and even ourselves. We can make it rain. We can make it hot or cold. We can fly. And the other day my fridge said hello to me.

Tonight the moon changed colour and we all ran outside to see it.
posted by doublehappy at 2:03 AM on December 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


In Sydney, the sun was still setting as the eclipsed moon was rising, so it wasn't visible until the sun had fully set & by that time the penumbra was halfway across the moon.

It's just finishing up now, but with the dusk the fruitbats head out on their nocturnal foraging mission, so having bats scudding across the partially eclipsed moon (magnified by its proximity to the horizon) was pretty cool.

Happy solstice, everybody!
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:04 AM on December 21, 2010


Thanks, 285,000 mile-long shadow of the moon!

Earth, shadow of the Earth. The Moon's shadow is the cause of a solar eclipse and a repetitive, folky soft rock hit of the 70s.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:05 AM on December 21, 2010


Diary: NY. Set my alarm. Got up 0115. Packed my Ken Onion folder (sharpen stakes for vampires), can of SLX (torch zombies or alternatively gift to fire-worshipers, whatever), and blanket. Rule number is 1: cardio; I rode my bicycle to the beach. Locked gates at park provide minimum of protection from zombies; Hopped fence. Hid in child playground tube. Plastic tube is surprisingly warm....would have been metal when I was a kid...watched moon. Tired.... feel like I'm still dreaming...
posted by xtian at 9:16 AM on December 21, 2010


Oops! shadow of earth.....doh!
posted by lalochezia at 9:41 AM on December 21, 2010


There was light cloud most of the duration here except fot the first 45 minutes or so when there was a persistent clear hole about 6 moon diameters wide perfectly positioned to view the moon. It's like the universe wanted my daughter and I to see this event. Sadly the hole closed after that and we had to watch the totality through hazy with occasional clearish periods.
posted by Mitheral at 10:01 AM on December 21, 2010


I guess the universe did not want my corner of the world to see it; vast overcast. Or maybe it was looking after me: there have been a string of very early AM assaults and robberies near where I live. I would have had to spend most of the time watching my back....
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 4:10 PM on December 21, 2010




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