Watch the Total Lunar Eclipse Tonight via NASA Live Stream

lunar eclipse2010 Lunar Eclipse Live Stream: There will be a total lunar eclipse treat tonight, December 20, for those who are in the North and Central America.

Early in the morning on December 21 a total lunar eclipse will be visible to sky watchers across North America (for observers in western states the eclipse actually begins late in the evening of December 20), Greenland and Iceland. Viewers in Western Europe will be able to see the beginning stages of the eclipse before moonset, and in western Asia the later stages of the eclipse will be visible after moonrise.

What is a lunar eclipse?

A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes behind the earth so that the earth blocks the sun’s rays from striking the moon. This can occur only when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are aligned exactly, or very closely so, with the Earth in the middle. Hence, there is always a full moon the night of a lunar eclipse. The type and length of an eclipse depend upon the Moon’s location relative to its orbital nodes. [wikipedia]

According to NASA, this event will be the first total lunar eclipse in two years. For those of you (including myself) who are not living within North and Central America or even if you do but the weather doesn’t cooperate, then don’t worry because NASA got us covered. A live video feed of the total lunar eclipse will be streamed online from NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. You can check NASA’s page for the live stream updates.

UPDATE: Click the link for the NASA Live Stream and other Live Stream options

How long will it last?

From beginning to end, the eclipse will last about three hours and twenty-eight minutes. For observers on the east coast of the U.S. the eclipse lasts from 1:33am EST through 5:01 a.m. EST. Viewers on the west coast will be able to tune in a bit earlier. For them the eclipse begins at 10:33 p.m. PST on December 20 and lasts until 2:01 a.m. PST on Dec. 21. Totality, the time when Earth’s shadow completely covers the moon, will last a lengthy 72 minutes.

[via NASA]