Solstice Eclipse

While most residents of the Americas were fast asleep, dedicated observers were up all night to witness the total lunar eclipse of December 21, 2010. The event marked the first time our Moon passed through Earth's shadow on the same date as the winter solstice in 372 years.

The December 2010 lunar eclipse as seen from Denton, Texas.
John Love
Though New England was shrouded beneath an impenetrable cloud deck, amateurs as close as New York State were treated to glimpses of the event. Long time contributor Joe Rao reports "Probably the prettiest view came a few minutes after totality at around 3:56 a.m. To the naked eye, the Moon resembled Mars . . . the part of the Moon outside of the umbra appeared like the northern polar cap, while the rest of the Moon glowed a soft ruddy color, transitioning at the lower limb to a flat gray. For a Danjon estimate, I would place it closer to L = 2."

Observers farther south in Georgia and Florida fared much better. Bill Castleman of Gainsville, Florida, complied a tile-lapse video of the event and shared it on Youtube here. Other observing reports are trickling in. In the meantime, why not share your images by uploading them to our online gallery or post your pictures to our Facebook page.

8 thoughts on “Solstice Eclipse

  1. Peter Abrams

    I had a perfect view of the eclipse December 21 a.m. It was cloudless here in southern Ontario. It was also cold so I took no pictures. This is a beautiful shot…well actually three but the effect is what counts. Thanks for posting.

  2. Joe Stieber

    We had excellent skies in south-central New Jersey and superb views of the eclipse. For a change, clear skies prevailed during a major astronomical event! It was most enjoyable to soak up the star-filled sky during totality, and I was even able to spot M35 naked eye just 3.5 degrees from the eclipsed moon. Joe Rao echoed the comment I made to my companions on the field this morning — the moon, soon after totality ended, looked Mars-like with a rusty disc and a white “polar cap.”

  3. Preston S Justis

    I have to make a correction on the time of exposure for my submitted image. It was actually taken at 3:41 AM instead of 4:41 AM, Apologies for the typo.

  4. James Grose

    I have observed the lunar eclipse from my residence in the French Quarter in New Orleans, LA. The skies from my location were absolutely clear for the eclipse show. This eclipse was one of the better lunar eclipses I have seen in a long time in terms of weather conditions, the appearance of the totally eclipsed moon w/ the range of colors from a light blue gray along the lunar limb closest to the umbra during the first few minutes, and the last few minutes of totality, all the way to a dark muddy brown-red color on the lunar limb closest to the center of the umbra at the mid point of totality. I don’t think I will ever forget this eclipse. Now I am looking for to the next lunar eclipse visible in its entirety from here in the USA on 15 April, 2014, yeah I know it is a long time to wait, but it will be worth it in the end.

  5. Jeff Whoolery

    Wished I could have seen it. I saw lots of snow, seven inches of it. And a sky orange from the streetlights in Brainerd.

  6. NS

    From Haiku, Hawaii (upcountry Maui) I was able to see the moon very briefly during the total eclipse phase. The rest of the time it was completely obscured by cloud.

  7. Miles

    I wish I could have seen the eclipse, I live outside of minneapolis mn and it was snowing through the day and clouds (stubbornly I think) stuck around all night long. When is the next total lunar eclipse for the USA? Hopefully it won’t be snowing then.

  8. Clif

    I was able to see the eclipse from X Bar Ranch northwest of Sonora Tx. It was fantastic to see the stars come out as the moon went into the umbra. Thru a small 76 mm table top reflector telescope seated on a table, the scene was gorgeous as the eclipsed moon moved thru the stars.
    I had missed the Feb 2008 eclipse because of bad weather in East Texas. I took a chance in 2008 on seeing the eclipse from a rural location and was unable to. For the Dec 2010 eclipse, I wanted to go with the usually better skies in West Texas and drove 400 miles one way to do it. It worked out great and the skies cleared by evening at Sonora. I had great success in the Big Bend area of West Texas for the May 2003 and Oct 2004 eclipses. From 2004 to 2010 was a very long wait!

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