If you couldn’t drag yourself out of bed at 3:17 a.m. EST last night to see the peak of the total lunar eclipse don’t worry, we’ve got time lapse video of the event.
Last night’s total lunar eclipse marks the first time a lunar eclipse has coincided with the winter solstice since 1638. Not only that, a total eclipse of the moon is visible from all places within the hemisphere where the moon is above the horizon. Meaning that last night’s lunar eclipse was visible across North and South America, northern and western Europe, and a small part of northeast Asia, including Korea and most of Japan. That’s a potential viewing audience of about 1.5 billion people!
As you’ll see in the video a lunar eclipse doesn’t look like a solar eclipse. Don’t expect a sharply defined perfect circle to completely blot out the face of the moon. Instead, when the Earth cuts in front of the path between the sun and the Moon, the moon takes on variety of red tones. Here’s how NASA explains the rouging:
A quick trip to the Moon provides the answer: Imagine yourself standing on a dusty lunar plain looking up at the sky. Overhead hangs Earth, nightside down, completely hiding the sun behind it. The eclipse is underway. You might expect Earth seen in this way to be utterly dark, but it’s not. The rim of the planet is on fire! As you scan your eye around Earth’s circumference, you’re seeing every sunrise and every sunset in the world, all of them, all at once. This incredible light beams into the heart of Earth’s shadow, filling it with a coppery glow and transforming the Moon into a great red orb.