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(The Total Lunar Eclipse of December 21, 2010)

The Total Lunar Eclipse of December 21, 2010

Lunar Eclipses

There will be a total lunar eclipse for all of North America the night of December 20 through the morning of December 21, 2010.

Announcer: Frostbite Theater presents... Cold Cuts! No baloney!

Joanna and Steve: Just science!

Joanna: Hi! I'm Joanna!

Steve: And I'm Steve!

Joanna: A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes through the Earth's shadow. They're perfectly safe to observe, so you don't need any special equipment to see them!

Steve: A lunar eclipse begins when the moon enters a region of the earth's shadow called the penumbra. While an eclipse is technically under way, you might not notice it. The penumbra is a region where the Earth only partly blocks the sun's light from reaching the moon, so the moon stays relatively bright.

Joanna: The eclipse becomes more obvious when the moon reaches the umbra, the dark inner core of the Earth's shadow. If the moon only partly enters the umbra, the eclipse is called 'partial.' If the moon fully enters the umbra, the eclipse is called 'total.'

Steve: During a total lunar eclipse, the moon isn't completely dark. While the sun's light can't go through the Earth to get to the moon, some of the sun's light is scattered and refracted around the Earth by the Earth's atmosphere. The light that reaches the moon is made up from all of the sunrises and sunsets happening on the planet at that moment!

Joanna: At the time of this filming, the next total lunar eclipse, which is visible from all of North America, will occur on the night of December 20th or the morning of December 21st, 2010, depending on your time zone.

Steve: If you're in the eastern time zone, like we are, totality begins at 2:41 and ends at 3:53 the morning of December 21st.#noname Keep in mind that those are just the times for totality. You can use this chart to find the times for the other stages of this eclipse for your time zone.

Joanna: If you miss this eclipse, the next one will be on June 15th, 2011. That eclipse is best seen from South Asia, the Middle East and eastern and southern Africa, so those of us in North America are kind of out of luck on that one. The next total lunar eclipse visible from all of North America occurs on April 14th and 15th, 2014. For a complete list of upcoming solar and lunar eclipses, visit the NASA Eclipse Web Site.

Steve: Joanna and I are going to try to photograph this eclipse. If the weather is good and the images turn out nice, we'll post them in a separate video.

Joanna: But, until then, thanks for watching! I hope you'll join us again soon!

Steve: So, 2:41.

Joanna: Yep.

Steve: In the morning.

Joanna: Yep.

Steve: Geeh...

Joanna: I know...

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