A total lunar eclipse is expected to occur tomorrow morning, on December 21, which also marks the winter solstice and, consequently, is the shortest day of the year. If the weather conditions are favorable, the lunar eclipse can be seen from Iceland.
The moon above Seltjarnarnes. Photo by Páll Kjartansson.
“This December morning a red and Christmassy moon will hover like a giant natural Christmas ball in the sky and forebode a rising sun,” the lunar eclipse is described on the astrology website stjornuskodun.is.
According to the University of Iceland Almanac, the lunar eclipse will begin at 6:32 am. At that point the moon will be high up in the western sky visible from Reykjavík. A total eclipse will occur from 7:40 to 8:54 am, Morgunbladid reports.
At dawn at 10 am, the moon will appear again, at which point it will be hanging low in the northwestern sky as seen from Reykjavík.
Meteorologist Einar Sveinbjörnsson said there will likely be prime conditions for observing the lunar eclipse in the western sky tomorrow morning with wind from the north and northeast and frost across the country in the charts.
In the south and west the skies are expected to be clear, he added. In the north conditions will be cloudier, although there probably won’t be complete cloud cover. In the northeast snowfall is predicted, so it is unlikely that the moon can be seen from there.
On stjornuskodun.is it says that a lunar eclipse occurs when the sun, earth and moon are located in an almost direct line. If the moon is full, as it will be tomorrow, the moon falls into the shadow of the earth.
The last total lunar eclipse that was visible from Iceland occurred on February 21, 2008. The next lunar eclipse is expected on December 10, 2011, in the middle of the day, however.
In honor of the winter solstice, Ásatrúarfélagid, the pagan society in Iceland, will hold a ceremony at Öskjuhlíd in Reykjavík at 6 pm, by the Sveinbjörn Beinsteinsson memorial close to Reykjavík University and the Nauthólsvík beach.