During a Total Lunar Eclipse, the earth moves directly in between the moon and the sun, blocking sun's light from reflecting off the moon. Thanks to some indirect light refracted off the Earth's surface, the moon should glow sunset red for just over an hour.
The eclipse should begin at 12:30am and will reach it's climax at 2:41am. Tonight's viewing is particularly rare in that it takes place just hours before the winter solstice, meaning the moon should be very high and visible in the sky. The last time a lunar eclipse took place on December 21 was in the year 1638, and the next time it will happen is in 2094.
Unlike solar eclipses which require eye protection, lunar eclipses can be and are best seen with the naked eye.
With any luck tonight's clouds will clear up, opening up the viewing experience for all of us here in Ithaca. And if things don't work out, you can always check out [[link|url=http://www.nasa.gov/topics/solarsystem/features/watchtheskies/index.html]]NASA's live stream[[end-link]] of the night skies or wait until the next total lunar eclipse viewable in North America, expected to be in April 14-15, 2014.
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Weather permitting, Ithaca, New York, and the rest of North America are in for a winter solstice treat this evening with the best view of tonight's Total Lunar Eclipse.