Watch Lunar Eclipse...or Wait Another 400 Years

Lunar eclipse falls on the winter solstice for the first time since 1638

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

In this handout photo provided by NASA, A total lunar eclipse is seen as the full moon is shadowed by the Earth on the arrival of the winter solstice, on December 21, 2010 in Arlington, Virginia. (Bill Ingalls/NASA/Getty)

For the first time in over four hundred years, a lunar eclipse lands on the winter solstice. On the morning after this auspicious coincidence, we catch up with some professional star gazers to get a sense of the event’s astronomic and historical significance. We speak with Neil deGrasse Tyson, Director of the Hayden Planetarium and host of NOVA's "Science Now," along with Cameron Hummel, a PhD Student at Columbia University’s Department of Astronomy. 

This combo of pictures taken in Manassas, Va. shows the moon in different stages of a total lunar eclipse on December, 21, 2010. During the eclipse, the Earth will align between the full moon and the sun, covering the lunar surface in shadow. The eclipse is also falling on the same day as the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere—a rare occurrence that hasn't happened in 372 years.


Cameron Hummels and Neil deGrasse Tyson

Produced by:

Hsi-Chang Lin

Comments [5]


Wish I could've seen it. Unfortunately, by the time of totality our skies were clouded over. At least we got to see it as it was entering the umbral shadow.

Dec. 22 2010 09:44 AM
Kirstie from UK

i don't live in Virginia but i saw it in my country although it wasn't red but still, it was really freaky!

Dec. 21 2010 10:05 AM

Neal, thank you.

Dec. 21 2010 08:46 AM
Elly from Rockland County

At 3:00 in the morning I went outside on my front lawn, I looked up at the moon. It took my breath away. it was beautiful, blood-red. I said a prayer. And then I went back to bed.

Dec. 21 2010 08:23 AM
Peg from Intellectualeliteland

Top news 2010----
US is declared an Idiocracy after rejecting Democracy and Evolution. No longer will the US experience lunar eclipses - these events will now be interpreted Acts of God forewarning doom and gloom because of womens lib, gay soldiers and other issues offensive to the 70% majority who reject evolution.

Dec. 21 2010 06:44 AM

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