06 December 2011

Super-Sized Lunar Eclipse on December 10

Spread the word! On December 10, 2011 at around 4:45am PST (12:45pm GMT) a total eclipse of the Moon will be visible in the early morning skies of the Pacific side of North America, across the entire Pacific Ocean to Asia and Eastern Europe. By 6:05 am PST (2:00pm GMT, the Moon will be fully engulfed in red light.

The posted video from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) explains this phenomenon.

For those on the western side of the U.S., the eclipse is deepest just before local dawn. NASA notes, "Face west to see the red Moon sinking into the horizon as the sun rises behind your back. It’s a rare way to begin the day."

NASA video explains the supersized lunar eclipse

"Not only will the Moon be beautifully red, it will also be inflated by the Moon illusion.  For reasons not fully understood by astronomers or psychologists, low-hanging Moons look unnaturally large when they beam through trees, buildings and other foreground objects. In fact, a low Moon is no wider than any other Moon (cameras prove it) but the human brain insists otherwise. To observers in the western USA, therefore, the eclipse will appear super-sized.", the space administration explains.

The moon appears red because of the layer of dusty air surrounding the Earth turns red and redirects the sunlight. It fills the dark behind Earth with a sunset-red glow. The exact hue (anything from bright orange to blood red is possible) depends on the unpredictable state of the atmosphere at the time of the eclipse.