See What You Slept Through

A full moon winks at Washington, D.C. during last night's total lunar eclipse. Pictured alongside the business end of the Washington Monument, the moon is shown just shy of totality, when the entire orb is engulfed by Earth's shadow and takes on a rusty glow.

Coinciding with the winter solstice for the first time since 1638, the December 21, 2010, lunar eclipse was anything but ordinary.

Around 1 a.m. ET, the moon began going slightly shady, marking the arrival of Earth's faint outer shadow, or penumbra. Shortly after 1:30 a.m. ET, the first signs of a dim "bite"—Earth's dark umbra—began advancing across the moon from the left.

Totality began at about 2:40 a.m. ET, turned the moon a photo-friendly red, and lasted a little over 70 minutes. The full show—the moon's passage through penumbra, umbra, and penumbra again—lasted about three and a half hours.


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