Are You Watching Tonight’s Eclipse?

Updated, 1:18 a.m. | Monday night and into the morning, the Earth will prevent the Sun’s rays from reaching the moon, what is known as a lunar eclipse. But one like this won’t happen again until 2094.

For the the first time in 372 years, a lunar eclipse also marks the beginning of the winter solstice, the time at which the sun is at its southernmost point in the sky.

And it is scheduled to happen over the course of about 72 minutes, starting 1:33 on Tuesday morning Eastern time. But the moment to dash out of the house and into the cold is 3:16:57 E.S.T, when the moon will be a reddish copper color in the Earth’s shadow. It is supposed to be a particularly good show for people in North America (if they’re under clear skies) and a rare way to usher in a new season.

Not letting this spectacle escape its gaze, the NASA community has set up several ways for skywatchers to convene on its Web site. Viewers can post pictures on Flickr, or watch a live video feed from a camera mounted at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

NASA is also hosting an “Up All Night” question-and-answer  feature with the astronomer Mitzi Adams, who will be online from midnight to 5 a.m., Eastern time. 

The site includes some advanced reading materials on eclipses of this year that speak in dynamical time, or how time is tracked in the solar system, as well as other explanatory materials for novices, like this timeline of the eclipse tracked in Universal Time. For New Yorkers and others on Eastern time, subtract five hours, which we’ve done for you here:

Penumbral Eclipse Begins: 12:29:17 E.S.T.
Partial Eclipse Begins: 1:32:37 E.S.T.
Total Eclipse Begins: 2:40:47 E.S.T.
Greatest Eclipse: 3:16:57 E.S.T.
Total Eclipse Ends: 3:53:08 E.S.T.
Partial Eclipse Ends: 5:01:20 E.S.T.
Penumbral Eclipse Ends: 6:04:31 E.S.T.

Google Earth’s Sky feature will also allow viewers to stay inside and keep warm this frigid night with a live feed from the robotic telescope service Slooh.

Or allow them to watch gigantic projections of the moon in transition on massive screens in Times Square.

So even where it’s pouring, or the sky is covered with a thick blanket of clouds, everyone can watch if they stay up late enough.

Are you watching or did you watch? Tell us what you saw in the comments box below or on Twitter #eclipsenyt.

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