Courtesy of EarthSky
A Clear Voice for Science
On this last night of the year, nearly everyone worldwide will see the full moon all night long. The only exception will be Antarctica, where there’s a midnight sun now and no moon at all. The full moon will rise around sunset on this New Year’s Eve, climb highest in the sky around midnight, and will set around sunrise on the first day of 2010. For the Americas, Europe, Africa, and far-western Asia, tonight’s moon carries the name Blue Moon. For Earth’s eastern hemisphere, centering on India, there will be a very small partial lunar eclipse, with the moon just skimming Earth’s shadow.
Here’s more about the Blue Moon. This is the second full moon in December for the Americas, Europe, Africa, and far-western Asia. And according to recent tradition, a second full moon in a calendar month has the name Blue Moon. Elsewhere around the world – for example, in Australia, New Zealand and most of Asia – the moon will turn full after midnight, making tonight’s moon the first of two January full moons. For those locations, a second full moon will come at the end of January. By the way, tonight’s full moon is also the closest full moon to the December 21 solstice. In the northern hemisphere, where it’s winter, tonight’s full moon is often called the Long Night Moon. On the flip side of the world – in the southern hemisphere – where it’s summer, this could be called the Short Night Moon. Read more: What is a Blue Moon?
Here’s more about the partial eclipse. It’s really an extremely shallow one and not visible from the Americas (except for Alaska and far northern Canada). All eclipses are interesting, though! This one is visible from Europe, most of Africa, and from Asia beginning at 18:53 tonight Universal Time. Greatest eclipse comes about 30 minutes later, with the darkest part of Earth’s shadow just touching the moon’s southern edge. The image below, and more information, is found at NASA’s Eclipse website: