I received this email from Seth Jarvis, Director of Clark Planetarium, reminding everyone about the upcoming lunar eclipse. I thought I'd share it with you.
If you’re awake between 11:30 PM Monday night (12/20) and about 3:30 AM Tuesday morning (12/21), and the sky is clear, step outside and have a gander at a celestial wonder.
The Moon will be passing through Earth’s shadow during those hours and you’ll be treated to the sight of a total lunar eclipse.
When the Moon enters Earth’s umbra (the portion of the shadow that covers 100% of the Moon, shown as the inner of the two circles in the attached jpeg images) the Moon will turn a dark blood-red. That’s caused by the sunlight on the opposite side of the world that filters through our atmosphere and refracts around Earth to escape past our planet to fall on the Moon, then reflect back to us.
The last time a total lunar eclipse was visible from the western U.S. was 2/20/08, and the next time you’ll be able to see this from Utah won’t be until 4/14/14.
Keep your fingers crossed for clear skies!
Director, Clark Planetarium
Salt Lake City