There are not many days like Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2010. Take it from people who know – astronomers. There was maybe one day like this Tuesday in the past 2,000 years.
On Tuesday morning, astronomers say, there will be – or depending on when this is read, was – a total eclipse of the moon. And on the very same day, the winter solstice arrives.
The last time the two celestial events occurred within the same calendar day was long before any of our lifetimes. The year, according to Geoff Chester, public affairs officer at the U.S. Naval Observatory, was 1638. Although the solstice does not always occur on the same date each year, the date in 1638 was the same as Tuesday’s – Dec. 21.
Chester said he looked it up, because as the time of the two events drew nearer, people began to make inquiries of him. He said his research took him back to the year A.D. 1. eemed to be reasonably far back. He consulted “a number of well-respected sources.” And his finding, essentially was this: “It’s a comparatively rare event.” Although it does not appear to have any cosmic significance. read the rest of this story here
or visit NASA’s eclipse website here
By Martin Weil
Washington Post Staff Writer
T uesday, December 21, 2010