Tue December 21, 2010
The Two-Way

That Total Eclipse Of The Moon: Did You See It? Here's What It Looked Like

The view was just fine from the window of our spare bedroom very early this morning as the moon turned from bright silver to a coppery red thanks to a total eclipse.

This eclipse was visible across much of Europe, the Americas and parts of Asia. And it was more unusual than most because it coincided with the winter solstice and today's official start of winter. The last time an eclipse happened on this day "was more than three centuries ago on Dec. 21, 1638," the Associated Press writes. "It will happen again on Dec. 21, 2094, according to U.S. Naval Observatory spokesman Geoff Chester."

As meteorologist Joe Rao said on Science Friday last week, the moon turned red because sunlight was "strained through the Earth's atmosphere, and our atmosphere is going to act like a lens and bend that ruddy hue ... onto the surface of the moon while it's immersed in the shadow."

Here's an AP video report on the show, and after it there's a question for the group:

Update at 1:10 p.m. ET. There are quite a few really good comments in the thread below. Feel free to add some more. Here are some that stood out to us:

-- James Hadland (SinceYoureAsking) wrote:

My youngest daughter and I braved the cold Richmond VA night and got up at 2.00 am. We watched through binoculars until the eclipse was full. It's something special we'll never forget, and we really enjoyed sharing the moment. The moon looked more 3-dimensional than its usial flat disc appearance...it was surreal, like something from a sci-fi movie. Particularly interesting and meaningful because it will be so long until the next winter solstice eclipse, and its been so long since the last one. We felt like history was being made right before our eyes..! Awesome !!! my daughter commented that maybe the next time it happens, people will be able to watch it from the moon and see an earth, solar eclipse !

-- Debbi Hook (DebbiH) wrote:

My teen-age son and I watched the eclipse from the deck of our condo on the lower Laguna Madre (Texas Gulf Coast)...from beginning shadow to full coverage. It was beautifully clear of clouds! The stars were intense and bright as well. We even got our binoculars out and looked at the moon's surface. It was an awesome and memorable event! In my 50+ years, I have never seen a full lunar eclipse. I'm so glad I viewed this one :-)

-- ron dovzak (beautyanddabeast) wrote:

In Flagstaff, we've had about 6 days straight of very cloudy weather so i was dismayed at my chances of seeing anything. Then, when my wife & I went outside, it was a miracle!! Straight above us was a large bowl of stars with the moon smack dab in the middle, all reddish and brown...around the bowl were the clouds, lurking...and waiting for a chance to move in...We watched for about 15 minutes right at the start of the total phase and then slowly the clouds moved in. But at least we got a great view for a while...

-- Ashley Thomas (AshleyShell) wrote:

I put a coat on over my pajamas and went and laid shivering on the trunk of my car to watch. :)

Update at 9:49 a.m. ET: The "it was too cloudy" option in our question is now working. And if you're keeping track, before that choice went live there were about 815 "yes, I watched" votes and 800 "no I didn't."

Update at 9:30 a.m. ET: Thanks to those who suggested we add an "it was too cloudy" option to the question. It should show up in the box shortly. The results just before the option was added: 644 "no, I didn't watch" votes; 622 "yes, I did." (Tip: If you're not allowed to answer because you already "voted", clear the cookies in your browser and try again). Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.