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A Once In a Life Time Event

By Meteorologist Joe Joyce, WBZ-TV
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Joe Joyce

Joe Joyce, WBZ-TV meteorologist

Simply put…On Tuesday the 21st, A Full Moon Occurs on the Winter Solstice with a Total Lunar Eclipse. This will never again occur in your lifetime. Awesome. 

Tuesday, The 21st of December promises to be quite an eventful day celestially speaking. It will be the first day of northern winter, when the full Cold Moon will pass almost dead-center through Earth’s shadow.

1st, The eclipse begins on Tuesday morning, Dec. 21st, at 1:33 am.  At that time, Earth’s shadow will appear as a dark-red bite at the edge of the moon. It takes about an hour for the “bite” to expand and swallow the entire Moon. Totality starts at 02:41 am and lasts for 72 minutes. At 3:17 AM, the Moon will be in deepest shadow, displaying  the familiar shades of coppery red.

What makes this so special?

 The Earth is always casting a shadow, thanks to the Sun, but it’s very rare that the Moon even partially passes through it; it normally happens just once or twice a year. A total lunar eclipse can only occur at Full moon. So we’re not only getting the rare Total Lunar Eclipse this year, We’re also getting it on the Solstice!  Major Double Whammy Bonus!

 The winter Soltice officially begins at 6:38 PM Tuesday. The Winter Solstice brings the shortest day and longest night of the year. The tilt of the earth axis is the most directly away from the sun in the Northern Hemisphere.

There are 24 hours of daylight south of the Antarctic Circle and 24 hours of darkness north of the Arctic Circle.  The sun’s rays are directly overhead along the Tropic of Capricorn

The last time we had a Total Lunar Eclipse on the Winter Solstice? 1554. Wow. So enjoy this eclipse on the longest night of the year, for what’s likely to be the last opportunity you’ll ever have!

How about the weather? I think it will just OK unfortunately. It starts of clear Monday night…but clouds will be increasing overnight. Our storm will be deepening Southeast of Nova Scotia. Clouds will be backing into New England at that time with wrap around warm air advection snow showers for the Later Tuesday-Tuesday night time frame. Clouds may hinder viewing….but they just may hold off long enough! It will be close.

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