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Lunar eclipse over the Bay Area

Lunar eclipse over the Bay Area

Lunar eclipse over the Bay Area

Lunar eclipse over the Bay Area

Lunar eclipse over the Bay Area

Lunar eclipse over the Bay Area

Lunar eclipse over the Bay Area

ALAMEDA, Calif.--Last night, during a calm, clear night in what had largely been a wet, rainy, and cloud-covered week, the Bay Area was treated to spectacular views of a bright orange moon.

The lunar eclipse, the second of 2010, occurs at the moon's descending node in eastern Taurus, four days before perigee, the point when the moon comes closest to Earth.

This eclipse happened to occur on the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice, occurred during a full lunar eclipse--a combination that hasn't happened in 372 years.

Seen in this image taken from Alameda, Calif., the penumbral shadow begins to appear, just before the moon begins to enter the Earth's dark umbral shadow at 10:30 p.m. PT on December 20, 2010.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
At 10:54 p.m. PT, the moon enters umbra, with the dark shadow of Earth moving across its face.

With a forecast of cloudy skies for the San Francisco Bay Area, initially it appeared as if we would only have a brief view of the heavenly show.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
At 11:04 p.m. PT, Earth' shadow is now quickly moving across the moon.

Moving in and out of the clouds on a cold night, patient viewers were rewarded, as intermittent visibility gave way to clear skies as the moon entered full eclipse.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
At 11:35p.m. PT, with just minutes to go until totality, just a sliver of the bright white moon is peeking through.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
With just minutes to go until totality, only a sliver of bright white moon remains next to the red rusty color of the eclipsed portion.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
A closer look at the blood orange moon, as seen at 11:35 p.m. PT from Alameda, Calif., on December 20, 2010.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
A closer look at the blood orange moon, now fully eclipsed.

The only reason we can see the moon at all is due to sunlight scattered and refracted around the edge of the Earth by our atmosphere, the same atmospheric effect that created the reddish glow.

Here, the sun, Earth, and moon are now fully in line, and if you were to be standing on the moon, a dark Earth would appear outlined by a brilliant red ring of sunlight seen through Earth's atmosphere.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
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