Lunar eclipse coincides with winter solstice in 400 years

December 21st, 2010 - 4:19 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Dec 21 (IANS) If the skies are clear just before dawn, you could be treated to the sight of the moon’s surface turning a blood red in the western hemisphere Tuesday.And this is the first time that a lunar eclipse has taken place on the winter solstice - the shortest day of the year - since 1638, so the omens could be particularly strong.

During a lunar eclipse the earth, the sun and the moon are almost exactly in line with one another. As they line up, the earth’s shadow passes across the surface of the full moon, reports the Daily Mail.

The eclipse will occur during daytime in India and will not be visible. It is impossible to predict the colour of a lunar eclipse in advance. On rare occasions it goes entirely black.

But it can appear copper, brown or blood red depending on how far it goes into shadow and whether the atmosphere is polluted with dust from volcanoes.

Since our ancestors first gazed at the night sky, a total lunar eclipse has been regarded as one of the most auspicious events of the celestial calendar.

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