Thursday, December 31, 2009

Blue Moon!

And a partial Lunar Eclipse too (for those in Europe, Asia, and Africa)!

From SpaceWeather:
Dec. 31st, for the first time in almost twenty years, there's going to be a Blue Moon on New Year's Eve. Get the full story and party tips from Science@NASA.

On Dec. 31st, the Blue Moon will dip into Earth's shadow for a partial lunar eclipse. The event is visible from Europe, Africa and Asia: map. At maximum eclipse, around 19:24 Universal Time, approximately 8% of the Moon will be darkly shadowed.

Blue Moons are rare (once every ~2.5 years). Blue Moons on New Year's Eve are rarer still (once every ~19 years). How rare is a lunar eclipse of a Blue Moon on New Year's Eve?

A search of NASA's Five Millennium Catalogue of Lunar Eclipses provides an approximate answer. In the next 1000 years, Blue Moons on New Year's Eve will be eclipsed only 11 times (once every ~91 years). So this is a rare event, indeed.

SUNSPOT SURGE: 2009 is ending with a flurry of sunspots. The month of December has had more "spotted days" than any previous month of the year by a significant margin, and all of the month's sunspot groups have been members of new Solar Cycle 24. Could this herald an end to the deepest solar minimum in nearly a century? That remains to be seen. Sunspot counts and trends are shown on today's edition of

What a great way to end the year.  Blue Moons, Lunar Eclipses, Sun Spots, Russians to blow up Asteroid bound for the Earth.

A great year for Astronomy.  May 2010 be just as exciting!


1 comment:

WomanHonorThyself said...

great stuff...I read about this too..its fascinating to me..HAPPY NEW YEAR MY FRIEND!!!