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This year marks a rare event with a total lunar eclipse occurring on the day of the winter solstice. It will be total and visible on every continent except Antarctica (where it's summer and the full moon of December cannot be seen) and parts of Africa, the Middle East and India. It will be visible throughout all of North America. Most of Europe and the rest of Asia will see part, but not all, of this winter solstice eclipse. The frequency of a total lunar eclipse viewable from any one location averages about 4 to 5 times per decade. However, the next one visible from North America isn't till April, 2014.

The last total lunar eclipse occurring on the winter solstice happened the night of December 20-21, 1638. That eclipse came just 14 hours 19 minutes before the moment of the solstice. The next-closest was the eclipse of December 23rd, 1703, just 19 hours 28 minutes after the solstice.

If you wish to view this lunar eclipse, here are the timings of the major eclipse phases (times are Mountain Standard Time):

Penumbral Eclipse Begins:   10:29 PM
Partial Eclipse Begins:     11:32 PM
Total Eclipse Begins:       12:41 AM
Greatest Eclipse:            1:17 AM
Total Eclipse Ends:          1:53 AM
Partial Eclipse Ends:        3:01 AM
Penumbral Eclipse Ends:      4:05 AM



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