Total Eclipse of the Moon, Night of December 20, 2010
The Total Lunar Eclipse of Oct. 27, 2004
Photo: Fred Espenak

Get ready for a total lunar eclipse! The entire eclipse will be visible from North America on Monday evening, December 20th and Tuesday morning, December 21, 2010.

We've answered some of the most common questions about a total lunar eclipse:

  • What's a total eclipse of the moon? A total eclipse of the moon is when the Earth's shadow falls on the Moon. This happens because the Moon and the Sun are exactly opposite each other and the Earth is right between them.

  • What's a total eclipse of the moon look like? The moon will be a dull brown or have a reddish glow. It might look like the photo above. It will not be completely dark.

  • How do I see the eclipse? No telescope is needed, but if you have binoculars this is helpful. But, don't let that stop you from looking, just use your eyes!

  • What time is the eclipse? Here's a basic schedule for times in North America, but for a detailed schedule check the times here.

    Event Pacific Mountain Central Eastern
    Partial eclipse starts 10:33 pm 11:33 pm 12:33 am 1:33 am
    Total eclipse starts 11:41 pm 12:41 am 1:41 am 2:41 am
    Total eclipse ends 12:53 am 1:53 am 2:53 am 3:53 am
    Partial eclipse ends 2:01 am 3:01 am 4:01 am 5:01 am

Want more? Check out our Lunar Eclipse 2010 Handout by Andrew Fraknoi at the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. For a longer explanation and more details, see For activities, see our resource page, Why Do Eclipses Happen?

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