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Lunar eclipse: winter solstice

It was only when we switched on BBC Breakfast this morning that we heard about today's lunar eclipse, and it was a welcome alert. Our view to the west of the full moon was spectacular, but the earth's shadow had already started taking a chunk out of its perfect sphere. Through binoculars, the moon seemed particularly 3-dimensional, and I went off to fetch tripod and camera. By the time I had woken up enough to start shooting, here is all that was left of the moon-sphere:


Just 16 minutes later, the shadow was total and the sky had begun to lighten slightly. Here is the eclipsed moon in a delicate shade of rose, apparently a result of indirect sunlight piercing the moon's shadow:


You can see better photos on the BBC website here, but despite current handicaps, I am glad to have attempted to capture my own image. After all, it's the first total eclipse at a winter solstice for nearly 400 years so I won't get another chance.

The eclipse was supposed to last for at least an hour, but sadly by then the sky was too light or the moon had set, and we saw no more. Now I'm looking forward to moonrise (due about 4pm) to check that all is well and the circle complete when it reappears.


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