A Total Eclipse of the Moon

A total eclipse of the Moon is set to occur during the night of Wednesday, February 20/21, 2008 (tonight). It will be visible throughout most of North and South America. I believe it is the last total eclipse we will see for several years.

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Lunar Eclipse

Here is what NASA says about the event:

During a total lunar eclipse, the Moon’s disk can take on a dramatically colorful appearance from bright orange to blood red to dark brown and (rarely) very dark gray.

An eclipse of the Moon can only take place at Full Moon, and only if the Moon passes through some portion of Earth’s shadow. The shadow is actually composed of two cone-shaped parts, one nested inside the other. The outer shadow or penumbra is a zone where Earth blocks some (but not all) of the Sun’s rays. In contrast, the inner shadow or umbra is a region where Earth blocks all direct sunlight from reaching the Moon.

A partial eclipse will begin at 8:43 EST and will become total at 10:01. So make sure you take the kids outside to see it.

NASA has lots of good information.

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