This year’s second total lunar eclipse on Saturday, Dec. 10, will offer a rare chance to see a strange celestial sight traditionally thought impossible.
Ringside seats for the lunar eclipse can be found in Alaska, Hawaii, northwestern Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and central and eastern Asia. Over the contiguous United States and Canada, the eastern zones will see either only the initial penumbral stages before moonset, or nothing at all.
Over the central regions of the United States, the moon will set as it becomes progressively immersed in the Earth’s umbral shadow. The Rocky Mountain states and the prairie provinces will see the moon set in total eclipse, while out west the moon will start to emerge from the shadow as it sets.
The moon passes through the southern part of the Earth’s shadow, with totality beginning at 6:06 a.m. PST and lasting 51 minutes.
For most places in the United States and Canada, there will be a chance to observe an unusual effect, one that celestial geometry seems to dictate can’t happen. The little-usedname for this effect is a “selenelion” (or “selenehelion”) and occurs when both the sun and the eclipsed moon can be seen at the same time.
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