Early X'mas treat: 2010's total lunar eclipse

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LOS ANGELES. December 20. KAZINFORM Weather permitting, sky gazers in North and Central America and a tiny sliver of South America will boast the best seats to this year's only total eclipse of the moon just days before Christmas; Kazinform refers to China Daily.

The eclipse will happen Monday night on the West Coast and during the wee hours Tuesday on the East Coast. Western Europe will only see the start of the spectacle while western Asia will catch the tail end.

The moon is normally illuminated by the sun. During a total lunar eclipse, the full moon passes through the shadow created by the Earth blocking the sun's light. Some indirect sunlight will still manage to pierce through and give the moon a ghostly color.

Since the eclipse coincides with winter solstice, the moon will appear high in the sky -- a boon for skywatchers. With recent volcanic eruptions around the globe dumping tons of dust into the atmosphere, scientists predict the moon may appear darker than usual during the eclipse, glowing an eerie red or brown instead of the usual orange-yellow tinge; Kazinform cites China Daily.

See www.chinadaily.com.cn for full version.

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