Last night/early this morning was the last full lunar eclipse the North Americas will see for another four years and I slept through it! According to the graphic above, courtesy of Shadow and Substance site (see link above) the eclipse began at 11:33 pm and continued to phase through until emerging again at 3:01 am today. Incidentally, it is uncommon that this happen on the date of winter solstice. This lunar eclipse falls on the date of the northern winter solstice.
"Geoff Chester of the US Naval Observatory inspected a list of eclipses going back 2000 years. 'Since Year 1, I can only find one previous instance of an eclipse matching the same calendar date as the solstice, and that is 1638 DEC 21,' says Chester. 'Fortunately we won't have to wait 372 years for the next one...that will be on 2094 DEC 21.'" (quote from NASA site) Unfortunately, most of us will not be here to see that one.
For more images of the eclipse see NASA's site http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2010/17dec_solsticeeclipse/
Today is the first day of winter, with the winter solstice beginning at 4:38 pm MST. Winter Solstice is the exact point in time that the earth's axial tilt is at the furthest point away from the sun. It is the day with the shortest period of daylight hours. From here the period of daylight lengthens. (yay!) And the approach to summer begins! (do I hear gardeners cheering?)
Happy Winter everyone!!