Tonight – An Eclipse of a Blue Moon!!


Space Weather News for Dec. 31, 2009

BLUE MOON ECLIPSE: For the first time in almost 20 years, there’s going to be a “Blue Moon” on New Year’s Eve. In Europe, sky watchers will witness an even rarer event—an eclipse of a Blue Moon on New Year’s Eve. What are the odds? Probabilities and observing tips may be found at http://spaceweather.com.

A “Blue Moon” is the occurrence of a full moon twice in one calendar month.

The moon Tuesday from the state boat ramp:

Wednesday in Douglas:

Wednesday from Torrey Road:

Last night I heard the moon looked awesome from across the lake. Today we are overcast and snowy with no visibility.

But it is happening!

On Dec. 31st, the Blue Moon will dip into Earth’s shadow for a partial lunar eclipse. The event is visible from Europe, Africa and Asia. At maximum eclipse, around 19:24 Universal Time, approximately 8% of the Moon will be darkly shadowed. Click the link for an animated preview http://shadowandsubstance.com/

Blue Moons are rare (once every ~2.5 years). Blue Moons on New Year’s Eve are rarer still (once every ~19 years). How rare is a lunar eclipse of a Blue Moon on New Year’s Eve?

A search of NASA’s Five Millennium Catalogue of Lunar Eclipses provides an approximate answer. In the next 1000 years, Blue Moons on New Year’s Eve will be eclipsed only 11 times (once every ~91 years). So this is a rare event, indeed.

http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/LEcat5/LEcatalog.html

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