Feeds

RED MOON to GO DARK tonight in Pacific eclipse

Prisoner of an ignorant tribe? Now's your chance

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

The last lunar eclipse of the year, and the last total one until 2014, will turn the Moon red for some lucky viewers.

The eclipse will kick off as the Moon passes though the shadow of the planet at 14:06:16 UT on 10 December. Viewers in the Western US and Hawaii will get a glimpse just before moonset, but the best views will be in Asia, Australia and New Zealand, who will see the full 51 minute eclipse. The lower the eclipse in the sky, the larger and more red it will appear to viewers.

“This is a special eclipse as it occurs as the Moon ‘leaps’ between the horns of the zodiacal Bull. We are hoping to see the Moon turn spectacular rust red as this happens,” said Dr Andrew Jacob, acting curator, Sydney Observatory, in a statement.

Astrology has nothing to do with it of course. The reddish tinge is imparted to the Moon by the amount of particulates in the atmosphere and the lensing effect of the atmosphere, which will also make it appear larger than normal for watchers.

"I expect this eclipse to be bright orange, or even copper-colored, with a possible hint of turquoise at the edge," predicted Richard Keen of the University of Colorado.

"During a lunar eclipse, most of the light illuminating the moon passes through the stratosphere where it is reddened by scattering. If the stratosphere is loaded with dust from volcanic eruptions, the eclipse will be dark; a clear stratosphere, on the other hand, produces a brighter eclipse. At the moment, the stratosphere is mostly clear with little input from recent volcanoes."

While a stunning special in itself, the eclipse will also allow stargazers good views of other objects, by cutting out a major source of light pollution. In an advisory NASA suggests that astronomers might use the opportunity to get a really good look at Aldebaran, Betelgeuse, Pollux and Capella. ®

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
MARS NEEDS OCEANS to support life - and so do exoplanets
Just being in the Goldilocks zone doesn't mean there'll be anyone to eat the porridge
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!
New Horizons is less than a year from the dwarf planet
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.