I walked out into the streets last night at 11:00 pm PST to try to catch a glimpse of the lunar eclipse, and then peeked my head out the window again at 2:00 am, but here in southern California we’ve had nothing but rain for three days. The skies are crystal clear 362 days a year — bad luck on our part that the rain coincided with the rare astronomical event.
As we all know, last night’s eclipse was the first since 1638 to fall on the same day as the winter solstice — when Earth’s tilt is farthest from the sun. The next time that will happen will be in the year 2094.
So this morning I caught the two minute time lapse version of what I missed last night — it’s really beautiful. Here’s the short clip in case you were also under clouds, slept through your alarm, or opted out of the midnight viewing.
I’ve also included The Atlantic’s top photographs of the eclipse, and a brief explanation of why the moon appeared red:
When the moon went into its deepest shadow (between about 2:40 am and 3:50 am ET), it took on copper color. According to NASA, this is “because indirect sunlight is still able to pass through Earth’s atmosphere and cast a glow on the moon. Our atmosphere filters out most of the blue colored light, leaving the red and orange hues that we see during a lunar eclipse.”
Here are some of the best photographs of the event. My favorite was taken by an MIT student.
And here’s the video clip:
Image: flickr/squeaky marmot