A total lunar eclipse will occur on December 10, 2011. This will be second of two lunar eclipses in 2011. The first was in June. There will not be another lunar eclipse for three years.
It will be visible from all of Asia and Australia, will be seen rising over eastern Europe and setting over North America.
A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon goes behind the earth so that the earth blocks the sun’s rays from reaching the moon. This can occur only when the moon, earth, and sun are aligned. Unlike a solar eclipse, which can only be viewed from a relatively small area of the world, a lunar eclipse can be viewed by the majority of the world. Also, it is safe to view a lunar eclipse, unlike a solar eclipse which leaves people blind.
The reason why the moon looks red during a lunar eclipse is because there is a high concentration of particles in the air, such as dust and smoke. These particles “scatter” away the short and intermediate wavelengths of light (violet, blue and yellow), leaving only the longer wavelengths (orange and red) to reach our eyes.
The eclipse’s total phase will last for 51 minutes. It will start at at 11:33:36 Universal Time with totality starting at 14:06:16 UT.