Watch for rare total lunar eclipse tonight

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by KGW.com and KREM.com Staff

KREM.com

Posted on December 20, 2010 at 9:58 PM

Updated Monday, Dec 20 at 10:09 PM

PORTLAND -- Dec. 21 marks the transition from fall to winter, with the arrival of winter solstice. But this year on that same night, the Earth’s shadow will also creep across the moon’s surface in a total lunar eclipse.

From 11:40 p.m., Monday night, until 12:54 a.m. PST, Northwesterners can watch as the Earth’s shadow entirely engulfs the moon. The peak of the eclipses will be at 12:16 a.m. PST.

The moon will turn somewhere between bright orange and blood red. Look for it to the south at 66 degrees above the horizon.

In Portland, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) and the Rose City Astronomers Club will have telescopes up - weather permitting - at the front plaza of the science center.

More info: OMSI Star Parties

The eclipse can be seen from from four continents, but the best views will be seen by residents of North and Central America.

“Unlike a total eclipse of the sun, which is only visible to those in the path of totality, eclipses of the moon can usually be observed from ones own backyard. The passage of the moon through the Earth's shadow is equally visible from all places within the hemisphere where the moon is above the horizon,” said Joe Rao of The Hayden Planetarium in Seattle.

Rao says this will be the best view of a total lunar eclipse until 2014, for North American residents.

It has been about three years since the last total lunar eclipse.

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