Will Tuesday Be the Darkest Day in 372 Years?





Break out the flashlights. When a full lunar eclipse takes place on the shortest day of the year, the planet may just get awfully dark.

The upcoming Dec. 21 full moon -- besides distinguishing itself from the others in 2010 by undergoing a total eclipse -- will also take place on the same date as the solstice (the winter solstice if you live north of the equator, and the summer solstice if you live to the south).

Winter solstice is the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and marks the official beginning of winter. The sun is at its lowest in our sky because the North Pole of our tilted planet is pointing away from it.

So, how often does the December full moon coincide with the solstice? To answer this question, let's use Universal Time (UT), also sometimes referred to as Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). We do this because in answering this question, it's important to define a specific time zone....


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