Total lunar eclipse on Winter Solstice: almost 400 years in the making

PlanPhilly photos

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Memo from Robert Roy Britt

Lunar eclipses are always special, but the early Tuesday represents a real rarity: It will be the first time a total lunar eclipse coincides with the winter solstice in 372 years. And on top of that, the Ursid meteor shower, normally unremarkable, could put on a bit of a show while the eclipse darkens the night sky.

But you had to stay up late or get up early to see it all.

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On the East Coast, the eclipse began a half an hour after midnight on Tuesday, Dec. 21. Out West, it started around 9:30 p.m. PST Monday. Across the country, the whole eclipse was observable before the moon sets in the west just as the sun is rising in the east. Maximum eclipse is at 3:17 a.m. EST/12:17 a.m. PST. [SPACE.com’s Viewing Guide]

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