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Lunar Eclipse Tonight!

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This year our little homeschool is studying Astronomy. It’s the kind of Astronomy I wish had been the basis of the Astro 1 class I took in college. No one told me it was astrophysics! Booooorrrrring!

No, this astronomy is learning about the planets and constellations and how things work up in space.

We’ve been using Exploring Creation with Astronomy by Jeannie Fulbright. It is a wonderfully accessible book for my elementary aged children — and thirtysomething mamas who didn’t like their freshman general ed requirements.

A couple months ago when we studied the Moon, we learned about lunar eclipses. This prompted me to find out when the next one would occur. I marked it on my calendar, and we’ve been waiting for it. And it’s tonight!

Here’s what I learned on NASA’s website about this lunar eclipse:

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 2:01am PST on Dec. 21. Totality, the time when Earth’s shadow completely covers the moon, will last a lengthy 72 minutes.

If you can’t get a good view from your house or the weather doesn’t cooperate, NASA will be broadcasting a live video feed.

One interesting note is this is the first time in over 400 years that the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, and a lunar eclipse coincide. It’s just a coincidence, but for skywatchers, it’s interesting.

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Making teachable moments

What can we do that is fun and educational — besides staying up until 2 am?

Moon Food

Out of this World Movies

Catch a fun flick!

Documentaries:

Will you stay up?

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Comments

  1. We’ve been waiting on this eclipse since August! We’ll try to get to bed early so we can get up at 1:30 am (we’re in Eastern time) and have our moon party. We’ll have moonpies and a lunar landing cake from here: http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/lunar-landing-cake-112626.aspx.
    We’ll also be playing Pin the Moon in the Sky (loving glow in the dark paint!).

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      @Stephenie, the game sounds awesome! Maybe we will try that if I can find black paper. How are you setting it up?

      • @Jessica Fisher, I just decorated a piece of black poster board with glow in the dark paint to look like a night sky, with stars and small circles for planets, etc. I cut out yellow construction paper circles for moons and played it basically as you would play “Pin the Tail on the Donkey”. The children loved it and we had fun, despite not getting to see the eclipse.

  2. Thanks for the heads up – so cool! Unfortunately, I think we’ll be relegated to the web feed thanks to the endless rain in LA – bummer!

  3. We did Apologia Astronomy last year and are doing Anatomy this year. I love it!!!!

  4. You could try “Dark Chocolate” Frosting…It’s Black and yummy! Just a thought. Thanks for the post!

  5. Cool!!!

  6. We are using the same book. It is wonderful! Thanks for the reminder about tonight. Happy viewing!

  7. Living on the East coast we will probably miss the live viewing but it is very interesting to me!

    I absolutely adore your excitement and enthusiasm! Keeps me coming back!

  8. Cool! Thank you for sharing this! I didn’t realize there was one tonight. I don’t think the kiddos will be up that late but I will be I’m sure. Enjoy it!

  9. While I would love to say that I’m getting up in the middle of the night to see this fantastic sight, well, I’m pretty sure my nice, warm bed will be more tempting. *Sigh* If my children were old enough to join enjoy it with me, I would make the effort.

    What about you? Will you be watching? Live? You didn’t say in your post.

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      @Nikki, well, it was our plan for the boys (ages 6-13) to stay up, but we’ve had rain for 4 days straight and supposed to continue for a few more days. So, I don’t think we’ll be able to see it.

  10. I was wondering what time I would be able to see it alabama I would love to be able to share this amazing sight with my daughter :)

  11. Thank you for telling us about the NASA live feed – we’re intending to get up early for it tomorrow (We’re in the UK, so it starts at 6:30am our time) but the weather is never predictable here! The kids are really excited, my eldest’s shined up his binoculars for a close look.

  12. my 7yr old saw this picture and said, “a red moon – that’s in the bible – YES – Were going to heaven”!!

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