Sunday, December 19, 2010

Tomorrow's Total Lunar Eclipse

I have been looking forward to tomorrow's total lunar eclipse, but the forecast for the Chicago region is not looking good. It is clear at the moment, but we are still about 30 hours until totality. As we say in the region though, if you don't like the weather, wait 10 minutes: it will change. And change it most likely will. Snow is expected tomorrow night. If you have clear skies tomorrow, though, here are some things to look forward to for this eclipse.

Credit: Larry Koehn.

Check out Lisa Beightol's Astronomy video.

With the winter solstice occurring later in the afternoon Tuesday, this is the first winter solstice eclipse since 1638. During the eclipse, the Moon will also occult the asteroid 348 May

Predictions for Chicago area observers by Curt Renz.

Curt also informs us that an hour after the eclipse, the Moon will conjunct with open star cluster NGC 2129.

I am still uncertain where I will attempt to observe the eclipse from, but Adler Planetarium is hosting an eclipse viewing party, and I may wind up there.

Of course, there are citizen science projects collecting data. John Westfall is collecting naked eye contact times. There are also crater timing projects. However you observe tomorrow's events, enjoy the rarity of this solstice eclipse and hopefully we will all enjoy a clear sky. Good luck!

Quick weather update: snow is on the way.


  1. This is AWESOME information there Paulie! I like the saying: If you don't like the weather, wait 10 minutes: it will change.

    Don't you worry there Paulie. You will be able to see the eclipse. If by any chance the weather doesn't work out you can always catch it live here:

    You can even chat with others while you watch it! So either way, you won't miss a thing!


  2. Thank you for the link to Astronomers Without Borders. I wasn't aware they were streaming coverage, but the AWB people do a great job working with the Virtual Telescope Project for live events.

    The Slooh project will also be showing the eclipse live.

    One of the reasons I'm hesitant to head out to Adler is that having my computer out (even if I have a power source available) probably isn't a good idea. One way or another, though, I will participate in this eclipse.