# NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration

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Total Lunar Eclipse: 'Up All Night' With NASA!

Mitzi: Hi everyone -- welcome to the chat! This is an exciting evening, and we're finalizing everything to take your questions in a couple of moments.

Mitzi: This is also a helpful map showing viewing areas around the world: http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/506630main_eclipse_viewing.gif

oldmanzhang: Is it cloudy in Alabama right now?

Mitzi: Yes, I'd say so. :) We're hoping for a break in the clouds a little later.

Sydney13: What is an Eclipse?

Mitzi: An eclipse occurs when one body blocks light from another body. That's the most basic answer. So in a lunar eclipse, the Earth blocks light from the sun, and the moon moves into the Earth's shadow. In a solar eclipse, the moon blocks the sun's light, and the Earth moves into the moon's shadow.

bulan: it seems to me that the time of totality is pretty long. is it longer than normal or is it pretty much usual?

Mitzi: That's normal for a lunar eclipse.

pyth0n: what is the frequency of a total lunar eclipse?

Mitzi: It's possible to have up to three total lunar eclipses in a calendar year.

Dustin1077: How do scientists calculate the exact date and time of an eclipse?

Mitzi: Very carefully. :) You have to know when the moon is getting close to the ecliptic and when it's close to that, then you have a chance for the alignment to occur.

Marth: Can astronauts watch this from outer space.

Mitzi: Yes, it's possible if astronauts on the moon, would actually see sun's light being blocked. ISS astronauts can see this if they're in the shadow.

Nic: Hello, can you describe the different phases of the eclipse and what we will see? for example, Umbra?

Mitzi: There are two distinct parts. Perumbral eclipse and umbral eclipse. Penumbra is outer part of the shadow, and when the moon enters this part, it's light will be dimmed very slightly. You might not notice anything. When the umbral part of the eclipse begins, one edge of the moon will move into the darkest part of the Earth's shadow and be "reddened." When the moon is totally in the umbral part of the shadow, we call that totality.

supernova22: why is this eclipse special?

Mitzi: Because it's happening close to a solstice.

techguy600: What is the link to see the other live webcams, the link above keeps saying the webpage timed out.

Mitzi: There's a LOT of traffic to this link right now, so please try it again.

morgan_slocum_texas: Can you explain the geometry behind an eclipse?

Mitzi: Simply put, the moon is in orbit around the Earth, and when the moon is behind the Earth, Earth blocks the light of the sun, and the moon is eclipsed.

XxAmberluvsGirxX: What would Earth look like if we were on the moon during the lunar eclipse?

Mitzi: It would block the light of the sun, and Earth's edges would look reddish because of the light bending in the atmosphere.

David_Cohen: Is the distance between the Earth and the Moon different during a lunar eclipse than it usually is?

Mitzi: No, no change, but the distance between Earth and the moon isn't constant and varies slightly.

knappy4495: I'm in New York and there is a HUGE ring around the moon. I have never seen anythin like it.

Mitzi: Those are ice crystals in the Earth's atmosphere.

vishnu1996: How does the studying of the lunar eclipse help the scientists to get more info. about the sunspots?

Mitzi: It doesn't. I guess in ancient times, studying solar or lunar eclipses helped understand more about the mechanics of the solar system.

connor3254: why is the moon not on the screen?

Mitzi: Unfortunately, there's a lot of cloud cover right now.

babymains: When was the last time, a solistice, an lunar eclipse, and a meteor shower all happened at once?

Mitzi: Last full solstice eclipse was 1638. In 1991 there was a partial eclipse during the solstice. The Ursid meteor shower happpens around this time every December, but it doesn't have very high rates.

DL1221: Can you explain a little bit about the different phases of the eclipse? Partial phase, umbra, etc.

Mitzi: There are two distinct parts. Perumbral eclipse and umbral eclipse. Penumbra is outer part of the shadow, and when the moon enters this part, it's light will be dimmed very slightly. You might not notice anything. When the umbral part of the eclipse begins, one edge of the moon will move into the darkest part of the Earth's shadow and be "reddened." When the moon is totally in the umbral part of the shadow, we call that totality.

LoveGandhi: Here in Philly it's perfect. Beautiful clear skies!

Mitzi: We're jealous -- wish they were clear here in Alabama! :)

tony9766: when is peak times there is so many conflicting times?

purrplsmurf119: Will we be able to see a change in the moon quickly or will it take awhile?

Mitzi: It takes about 3.5 hours, so it takes awhile. When the umbral eclipse begins, you can see something immediately, but takes awhile to see totality.

Mitzi: Hi everyone -- an update. We're working to get additional Web cam links, and we'll post them here. High traffic is overloading some pages, so thanks for your patience!

alicia828: why is the moon so high?

Mitzi: High in the sky because has to do with moon's orbit.

Karm1: what are the color that we are going to see?

Mitzi: My prediction is a ruddy red for color.

Marth: My son wants to know if Santa can watch this from the North Pole:)

Mitzi: From looking at our map -- it will be close. :)

rosie_2767: How long is a lunar eclipse?

Mitzi: This darkest part of this one is about an hour.

bas454: Do other planets have eclipses?

Mitzi: Well, they would need a moon, so Mercury and Venus don't have eclipses. Mars could have one, although wouldn't be as spectacular as ours because our moon is just the right size to block the light for a solar eclipse.

pmkane: any advice on photographing the eclipse? I am all set up to do so . . . can't wait!

Mitzi: Depends on camera, but simplest way is using the wide angle technique. Any camera can be used as long as it can shoot long duration (5 seconds). Play around with exposure times and bracket, and if using a long-exposure, you need a tripod to reduce vibrations -- and a cable release to open the shutter.

nmrnmr: when is the next lunar eclipse that will be visible to the US?

Mitzi: There's one next year on Dec. 10, 2011. One on June 15, 2011 that's visible from South America.

XxAmberluvsGirxX: Why does the moon change colors?

Mitzi: Because light from the sun passes through Earth's atmosphere and being refracted, or bent.

Eric_H: Do we all see the eclipse at the same time, or does the time shift depending on our location, and the curvature of the Earth?

Mitzi: We sort of all see it at the same time. When it begins for Eastern time, we should be able to see the eclipse begin in Central. Basically the moon has to have risen in order for this to be true. It rises at sunset when it's full, so it should already be up if it's dark.

Chelsea: Is there a time when it is unusual for an eclipse to occur?

Mitzi: No, not exactly. But a lunar eclipse requires a full moon and a solar eclipse requires a new moon, so the moon has to be in those positions in its orbit for those eclipses to occur.

mitchvasquez: What happens more often, solar or lunar eclipses?

Mitzi: Lots of questions about local viewing times coming in. So that we can get to as many questions as possible, we'll broadcast this link periodically to help you determine best local viewing times: http://www.nasa.gov/connect/chat/moon_gift.html

cpluver: Could the eclipse hurt Earth in any way?!

Mitzi: No, you're safe. :)

Sydney13: So if astronauts where on the moon right now there would be no light?

Mitzi: They would see the sun being blocked by Earth. There would be light, but it would be reddish.

Yechan: As highly unlikely this may seem, if a planet has at least 2 moons, is it possible to have a solar and lunar eslipse occur at the same time?

Mitzi: It would be possible, but not over the same portion of the planet.

vicky6979: why does the moon look almost orange or brown during an eclipse, instead of being blacked out?

Mitzi: If the earth had no atmosphere, it WOULD be blacked out.

messpelled: sorry to troll, mods. just couldn't help myself. You all are pretty kick %%% for hosting this for everyone. Cheers!

Mitzi: Thank you. Staying up all night isn't an easy task. :)

Nic: I'm curious as to what ancient civilizations believed a lunar eclipse was, and who was the first astronomer or scientist who figured it out?

Mitzi: The Incas said a lunar eclipse meant that mountain lion or serpent was attacking to tear her apart, so they shouted at the top of their voices and whipped their dogs so they'd bark and howl. They did this to frighten away the lion or serpent so the moon wouldn't be torn apart. They thought if the lion or serpent accomplished their aim, the world would be left in darkness. The Babylonians had very good records, but I'm not sure of the first astronomers -- probably the Chinese.

jaylawoody: What exactly does the lunar eclipse mean? Is it anything serious?

Mitzi: No, nothing serious. It's just a spectacle of geometry.

Marth: Have astronauts ever been on the moon durring an Eclipse

Mitzi: Not that I'm aware of.

Brenda: What's the difference between a New Moon and an Eclipse?

Mitzi: They're two different books? :) Seriously, a new moon happens every month, once a month, as the moon orbits the Earth. An eclipse occurs when one body blocks the light of the sun.

pyth0n: Is now the best time to attemp communication with any remaining lunar bots that may still be functioning with the earth blocking radiation from the sun?

Mitzi: Interesting thought. I'm not aware that there is a concerted effort to communicate during this time. It's a great time to do lunar impact monitoring.

oldmanzhang: Are the clouds shifting in Alabama?

Mitzi: They're always shifting, but have our fingers crossed that the moon will become visible.

testester: Which direction should I gaze at for the Ursid meteor shower?

Mitzi: Straight up and away from lights.

zac: If we drilled a large whole through the moon, during an eclipse will there be a single beem of light coming down from the moon?

Mitzi: Not likely this could ever happen -- but sure, you'd have a beam of light. :)

290: Isn't there a meteor shower happening around the same time as the eclipse?

Mitzi: Yes, the Ursids. They peak tomorrow night, but rates aren't very high, maybe 10 meteors per hour. You'd have just as good of a chance to see sporadic meteors.

Willi: In what direction will the shadow progress across the moon once it starts?

Mitzi: The moon moves into the shadow, so the shadow will go from the left to right side of the moon.

eri: why does the eclipse only happen every 300 years?

Mitzi: It doesn't -- you can have 0-3 lunar eclipses per year. It's just that the last solstice total lunar eclipse happened to be 300 years ago. The next is in 2094.

rickster6: What direction should I look in to see the eclipse?

Mitzi: Just look at the moon, if you have clear skies.

x: Do scientists learn anything new each eclipse or is everything pretty much known?

Mitzi: Scientists learn something about the atmospheric conditions of the Earth during the eclipse.

naynay828: is it true that the longest it can eclipse is 3 hours and 40 minutes?

Mitzi: This particular one is 3 hours, 20 minutes. The longest recorded was about 236 minutes in July 2000.

Sydney13: if u looked at solar eclipse could you really go blind?

Mitzi: YES -- although it's safe to look at a solar eclipse during totality.

Lolcoco12: Does earths atmosphere interrupt Lunar Eclipses in any way shape,or form Thanks in advance,If so Why?

Mitzi: No, but it affects its color, and depending on the amount of "stuff" in the atmosphere, it can make it very dim.

kaylie: How come lunar eclipses are more common than solar eclipses? Or does it just seem that way?

Mitzi: Really they're about the same. It just seems that way because lunar eclipses are visible over a much larger area than solar eclipses because the shadow is much larger.

dlrdon: Moon is visible in central New Mexico !!! wish you all could be here. I am viewing with my LX-200 10" scope.

Mitzi: We are SO jealous. :) Umbral eclipse will begin at 12:41 MST.

Mitzi: Lots of questions about local viewing times already coming in. So that we can get to as many questions as possible, we'll broadcast this link periodically to help you determine best local viewing times: http://www.nasa.gov/connect/chat/moon_gift.html Also, we're working to get more links to other online Web cams. Thanks for your patience with the weather. :)

sjbrazel: Is there anyway we can get the moon to reschedule for a clear night?

Mitzi: I wish!

VILL: How rare is the occurence of an eclipse on a full moon?

Mitzi: Lunar eclipses always occur on a full moon.

Karm1: thank you for taking the time to answer all of our questions. I know is not easy :) thank you so much :D

Mitzi: Thank you for being here and asking questions -- we enjoy it.

RaZrBlayde: whats lunar impact monitoring? what is hitting the moon?

Mitzi: Astronomers observe the dark portion of the moon with telescopes equipped with video cameras to see really brief flashes of light. These flashes are caused be meteoroids impacting the surface of the moon at very high speeds.

Lolcoco12: Sorry but this is a sucky question but where do "Eclipse's" get there name?

Mitzi: It's from ancient Greek, meaning "cease to exist." A good question, not sucky at all. :)

daveinohio: Does the forcast predict any clearing of the clouds?

Mitzi: Check your local weather, but for right now, much of the U.S. is seeing cloudy skies.

mrshllbnntt: I've never seen a solar eclipse in my life, but i've seen several Lunar eclipses, why is this?

Mitzi: Because the shadow of the moon is so small that a total solar eclipse is viewable from a small area on Earth. But a lunar eclipse is viewable from a large area.

darn_clouds: Why must the clouds be so inconsiderate?

Mitzi: Yeah, I agree.

naynay828: Do meteor's Ever hit the ground or burn up?

Mitzi: Yes, they do. When they hit the ground, they're called meteorites.

x8is: Hey Mitzi, so how did you get picked for this job tonight? Thank you, your anwsers have been interesting.

Mitzi: I was volunteered by our public affairs officer! But this is fun.

Raziel: What is this particular lunar eclipse rated on the Danjon scale?

Mitzi: We don't know yet -- have to wait until we see the eclipse.

Wickham: Are Astronomers capable of charting the exact date and time all future eclipse will take place?

Mitzi: Yes, they can.

Marth: Can you tell if a meteor will be hitting the earth ahead of time, if it happened?

Mitzi: Only one case of where that's true, thus far, asteroid 2008TC3 was observed and tracked in space, then its trajectory calculated and a prediction of when it would hit the atmosphere was made by scientists, and pieces were found on the ground as meteorites in Sudan.

Sydney13: what direction should i look into see the eclipse? ( thats what she said!! )

Mitzi: Simply look at the moon and hope for clear skies.

Buff: Does our moon have a name other than moon that just isnt used?

Mitzi: It has several, for example Selene and Luna.

naynay828: With all light being blocked from the moon by the Earth, does the moons tempature drop?

Mitzi: Yes, it can drop up to 500 degrees. There's no atmosphere to keep it warm when the light disappears.

Okie_Dokie: are the men and woman on the international spacestation studing this event?

Mitzi: Yes, they have several passes in which they'll try to get images of the eclipse.

Jay: Can you tell the health of the atmosphere during an eclipse? or what scientists be looking for?

Mitzi: It can be used the estimate the enlargement of the Earth's atmosphere due to dust and volcanic ash.

daveinohio: Are you guys using a telescope to catch the images?

Mitzi: A good camera is about all you need. Binoculars to watch are also good.

Kobayashi_Maru: I was hoping to see a slight change when the moon entered the penumbral shadow, but I've got some thin cloud cover and couldn't see any color or brightness change. What time with the moon enter the umbral shadow (and turn reddish)?

Mitzi: I can't see a difference when the moon enters the penumbral shadow, so the prenumbral part of the eclipse is not very exciting. Umbral begins 2:41 a.m. EST.

VILL: Is a looking at a lunar eclipse dangerous at all to the eyes?

Mitzi: No, no danger.

JNDJBs: Im in Atlanta GA, is the eclipse over because i just see a full moon up ahead.

Mitzi: It hasn't gone into the umbra yet, so just hang tight.

billy: What does Umbral mean?

Mitzi: The umbra is the darkest part of the shadow. Umbral eclipse is when the moon moves into that part of the Earth's shadow.

xanthochroid: I am viewing the Coca Cola Science Center cam and the South Florida cam but nothing is happening yet ...shouldn't I be seeing some preumbral shading by now?

Mitzi: The moon hasn't entered umbra yet, so you won't see much until then.

Mitzi: Everyone, try this page for better viewing options on live cams. Heavy traffic on these links, so you might have to wait for a moment for the page to load: http://www.nasa.gov/topics/solarsystem/features/watchtheskies/alt_eclipse_cams.html

voyageur: Can i see lunar eclipse with a telescope?

Mitzi: Yes, you can, but you don't really need one.

mrshllbnntt: Are the meteoroids hitting the moon part of the meteor shower occuring around this time?

Mitzi: Yes, it's possible for Ursids to hit the moon.

DallasMom: So are there more impacts on the dark side of the moon? Why?

Mitzi: That's an interesting question. There's really no dark side of the moon, it's just the side we never see. But that side does seem to have more craters than the side that continually faces Earth.

Pysnake: Do lunar eclipes affect tide levels?

Mitzi: It's not the eclipse that affects it -- it's the Earth-Moon-Sun system, mostly Earth-Moon.

DallasMom: What is the Danjon scale? What does it measure? Was there a person named Danjon?

Mitzi: It's a 5-point scale for evaluating the visual appearance and brightness of the moon during a total lunar eclipse. Danjon was a French astronomer who first developed the scale.

rscftw: Mitzi, is that your name?

Mitzi: Yep.

bixh: How long will the Lunar eclipse last?

Mitzi: The darkest part is about an hour.

guest: So I signed in using the guest monikier and voila, here I am. Did not take a rocket scientist to get in this awesome event.

Mitzi: That's good -- we try to make it as easy as possible.

Mitzi: Everyone, many questions about viewing. Try this page for better viewing options on live cams. Heavy traffic on these links, so you might have to wait for a moment for the page to load: http://www.nasa.gov/topics/solarsystem/features/watchtheskies/alt_eclipse_cams.html

amdot: Mitzi, do you happen to know if NASA TV will do a live broadcast of any portion of this lunar eclipse? Or is this the only place it is being shown live? Thanks...

Mitzi: NASA TV won't be broadcasting this event -- for now the links we're promoting are what we have.

Courtney: Where is this webcam located at?

Mitzi: The main one is at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

Adam: Is there any of the moon breaking appart? such as a big meteor hitting it and breaking a chunk off?

Mitzi: Not during the eclipse!

Discovery: What causes the moon to turn red and not any other color? I know it's red because go the Earh's atmosphere, but why...red? Why not green or blue or yellow?

Mitzi: It's not limited to red. It can be brown or yellow, or in the case of a heavy volcanic eruption, can disappear entirely. If the edges of the Earth are cloudy, then you'd have a lot more reddening because light is passing through more "stuff."

markdelvalle: What is the reality of the recent volcanic activity in indonesia to potentially alter the color of tonights eclipse?

Mitzi: Not much affect from that particular eruption.

sammut42003: Hi I am from Malta and I saw the moonset-never seen the moon so big,bright and so orange-is this because of the eclipse?

Mitzi: It's just because it's full.

Ulysses: What is the silliest question you've gotten tonight? :P

Mitzi: Not really any silly questions. All good participation.

babymains: So if the umbral is at 2:41 est, when is actually over?

Mitzi: Umbral eclipse ends at 3:53 a.m. EST.

mrshllbnntt: Should I drink Coffee to stay awake, or will it make me crash later?

Mitzi: I am!

dethklok5911: Is the picture suppose to be black?

Mitzi: Many, many of you have asked this question. Unfortunately, this is cloud cover.

rscftw: the moon is always the same size, its just an optical illusion when you add a background too it it seems larger... correct?

Mitzi: It's actually not always exactly the same size because the distance to Earth varies slightly. BUT, during moonrise or moonset, the moon appears to be very large. This is a psychological effect because you have something to which to compare. when it's high in the sky, there's nothing to compare with it.

Roxyana: I'm attempting to watch the Eclipse whilst sitting in a snowbank. Any tips to keep warm as I curse the cloud cover?

Mitzi: What are you doing in a snowbank?! My tip is, "Leave the snowbank to get warmer."

Anthony: AT KSC its clear do you have a webcam there?

Mitzi: No, unfortunately, no Web cam there.

webbone: I'm viewing the webcast from Miami and it looks like a shadow is appearing lower left moving towards the right... is this the direction we will see the eclipse move from North America?

Mitzi: We're seeing it, too -- that's the partial eclipse starting.

Mitzi: Everyone, try this page for better viewing options on live cams. Heavy traffic on these links, so you might have to wait for a moment for the page to load: http://www.nasa.gov/topics/solarsystem/features/watchtheskies/alt_eclipse_cams.html

Vinreal: How long will the eclipse last?

Mitzi: About 3.5 hours in total.

Anthony: I knew it was starting...Why is there no red like Feb 08?

Mitzi: It's still too early to see the red.

Starrookie65: I don't see anything on the live stream?

Mitzi: Again, that's cloud cover in Huntsville. The best way to accces more links is: http://www.nasa.gov/topics/solarsystem/features/watchtheskies/alt_eclipse_cams.html

Mitzi: This is a more detailed explanation of where the eclipse can be viewed over Earth: "Early in the morning on Dec. 21, a total lunar eclipse will be visible to sky watchers around the world. The eclipse is visible across all of North America -- for viewers in western states, the eclipse actually begins late in the evening of Dec. 20. Viewers in Greenland, Iceland and western Europe will be able to see the beginning stages of the eclipse before moonset. In western Asia, the later stages of the eclipse will be visible after moonrise. All of the eclipse will be visible throughout Mexico and Central America and northwest South America. Viewers in Peru, Chile and Bolivia will see most of the eclipse, but the moon will set before the end of the Penumbral phase. Viewers in Brazil will see the moon set during totality. Parts of Africa in the northwest will also see the moon set while it is eclipsed. All but the westernmost tip of Australia will see an eclipsed moon as it rises. Unfortunately most of Africa, the middle East and India will not have a view of this event.

Lindsay: Why is the edge of the moon green?

Mitzi: It's a matter of color perception -- for example, while you see green, others may see gray.

Ali: What is the cause of the moon redness ?

Mitzi: Light from the sun is all different colors and it gets filtered as it goes through the Earth's atmosphere. The blue light scatters -- which is why we have a blue sky -- leaving the red and orange.

phoenix12121: when will the next total lunar eclipse be?

Mitzi: That will be Dec. 10, 2011, vivible from Europe, Asia, Australia, East Africa, Pacific, North America.

Kobayashi_Maru: My last question was answered in response to another question. Thanks.

Mitzi: Good deal. :)

Mitzi: Lots of questions about local viewing times coming in. So that we can get to as many questions as possible, we'll broadcast this link periodically to help you determine best local viewing times: http://www.nasa.gov/connect/chat/moon_gift.html

RebeccaL: Are there any upcoming solar eclipses?

Mitzi: Yes, but not until 2012 for a total solar eclipse. May 20, 2012 is the date. Seen China, Japan, North Pacific, and U.S.

ortfan41: Hooray! Thanks! It's just starting here, so I'm going outside. Thanks again!

Mitzi: Good luck with the viewing!

Nic: Can you explain what a solstice is?

Mitzi: In astronomy-speak, it's two points on the ecliptic when the sun reaches southernmost or northernost point relative to the celestial equator -- that's summer and winter solstice. It's when the sun reaches it's most northerly or southerly extreme in the sky, and when we have our longest or shortest day.

Mitzi: Everyone, thanks for your patience as we work through the questions. We've have over 1,200 and we're trying to answer as many as possible. Keep them coming!

AUBURNAL: When should the moon turn red? after it is completely black?

Mitzi: You should see some reddening when the total -- umbral -- part of the eclipse begins, or at 2:41 a.m. EST. Probably won't become completely black.

Brenda: How fast does the temperature drop on the moon when it goes from being in the sun to being in the shadow of the Earth?

Mitzi: I'm not sure, but it would be very fast because there's no atmosphere to hold the heat.

C-Slice: During a partial lunar eclipse would the color change also occur?

Mitzi: Yes, you might see some, but the dramatic color change is in the total phase.

enterprise0174656: Is it true that a total lunar eclipse only occurs during a full moon?

Mitzi: Yes, that's correct.

rscftw: Does it go through a color scale? ive noticed the green, then it turned to blue, is purple next? then pink, then red.. etc?

Mitzi: The colors depend on the Earth's atmospheric composition.

citizen: How many total lunar eclipses are you aware of that have happened on this day throughout history/

Mitzi: The last one that occured close to the solstice was in 1638. There have been more, but I'd have to look through the records to find more.

cheese: Is the moons lack of atmosphere do to its lower gravity?

Mitzi: Yes, that has a lot to do with it. Mars has a similar problem, although Mars does have an atmosphere.

Vinreal: Why can't everyone on Earth see the Lunar Eclipse?

Mitzi: Because it's not dark everywhere. People on the other side of the Earth are having daylight.

William_Wood: Does NASA have a camera on the moon to look back toward Earth for the eclipse?

Mitzi: No, no camera on the moon. Good idea, though.

Nic: you mentioned earlier that the reason the moon is colored during a lunar eclipse is because of light refracting of off the atmosphere, so theoretically, if we were observing another planet and didn't know it's atmosphere, could we determine it has one if we could view it's lunar eclipse? Also, by viewing the color refracted on the moon, could we determine the composition of said atmosphere?

Mitzi: Yes, that's right.

cheese: With all the money american taxpayers give you guys and all you can do is give us a screen with nothing on it. we went to the moon for less. it's time we de-funded you people.

Mitzi: We'd love to have a picture there, but even with our technology, we can't control the weather. :)

Fer: Are there eclipses on other planets?

Mitzi: There can be, if they have moons.

ebonill: Why do volcanic eruptions affect the color of the moon during total eclipse?

Mitzi: Because they put dust and sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere and light refracts off the dust.

babymains: What is type of stone is the moon made out of?

Mitzi: Basically the moon is made of very similar elements as Earth. Surface of the moon is like sand.

Marth: Why doesnt NASA have a camera on the moon?

Mitzi: I don't know -- great question. Let's think about how to do it.

plan: Hi Mistzi, Just wanted to say thx for having us. I was here for the Geminids and really enjoy these NASA web chats. You folks do great work.

Mitzi: It's our pleasure -- we enjoy them, too!

DallasMom: Wow, it's really beautiful! Suddenly I notice the stars...is that because the moonlight is dimming?

Mitzi: Yes, it is. You might also see meteors with the darkened sky.

TheSpam: William_Wood asked about a camera: Is there other equipment on the moon gathering information?

Mitzi: Sort of. There are corner cube reflectors into which lasers can be beamed and by timing the return from them, we can measure the distance to the moon very accurately. The reflectors were placed on the moon by the Apollo astronauts.

Fraley: It is cold outside. Why can't you speed this eclipse up?

Mitzi: It's warm inside here, but I understand how you might want the eclipse to speed up!

Fer: Is the moon brighter tonight?

Mitzi: Not any brighter than at any other time of a full moon.

Mitzi: We're starting to see some great views of the eclipse in clear parts of the country! Try the links on this page. Heavy traffic on these links, so you might have to wait for a moment for the page to load: http://www.nasa.gov/topics/solarsystem/features/watchtheskies/alt_eclipse_cams.html

DallasMom: Oh my, they mentioned those reflectors on "Big Bang Theory." I can't believe they're really there?!

Mitzi: Big Bang Theory has some good consultants.

Rabb: Is Earth's shadow much larger than the moon, or is it a close fit?

Mitzi: Yes, MUCH larger.

droopy: I can see a star, is color orange, anyone can tell me which is that star?

Mitzi: Is it in the Constellation Orion? If so, that's Betelgeuse.

Thomas: what is the diffrence between a new moon and an eclipse?

Mitzi: A new moon occurs when the moon is between the sun and the earth. A solar eclipse could occur every time there is a new moon, but it doesn't because the moon's orbit is tilted by about 5 degrees from that of the Earth-Sun line.

Joey123456: How do yall predict when there are eclipses?

Mitzi: We can perform computer simulations of bodies within the solar system and determine when one of these bodies will eclipse another.

Anthony: Whats the lunar eclipse scale called?

Mitzi: It's called the Danjon scale. It's used for evaluating the brightness of the moon during a lunar eclipse.

flip: What is a solstice eclipse?

Mitzi: It's an eclipse that occurs close to the summer or winter solstice. Today's eclipse is occuring near the winter solstice.

LavitzSkall: How often does a Full Moon solar eclipse like this happen?

Mitzi: Solar eclipses don't occur during a Full Moon. Lunar eclipses occur during some Full Moons and solar eclipses occur during some New Moons.

meredith: Hello and thank you for this...I have total cloud cover here in Indianapolis Indiana, but will stay tuned to see what you have...Meredith

Mitzi: You're welcome. Hopefully you can see the eclipse on one of the live feeds if the clouds don't blow over in time!

pbryant: How did ancient people predict the eclipses without the computer simulations?

Mitzi: They had records of past eclipses, full moon, and new moon. With geometry they could make the predictions of when the eclipse would happen.

Joey123456: Anthony mentioned the eclipse scale, is there a good or a bad on that Scale? What does it help yall determine?

Mitzi: That's the Danjon scale. It's a 5 point scale used for evaluating the appearance and brightness of the lunar eclipse. L=0 is a very dark eclipse where the moon is almost invisible. L=1 is a dark eclipse that is gray or brownish in color. L=2 is a deep red or rust-colored eclipse where the central shadow is very dark and the outer edge of the umbra is relatively bright. L=3 is a brick-red colored eclipse where the umbral shadow has a bright or yellow rim. L=4 is a very bright coppery-red or orange eclipse where the umbral shadow has a bluish, very bright rim.

Jazoe: If it is a lunar eclipse on the earth, is it a solar eclipse on the moon?

Mitzi: Yes!

SolarSystemQuestionair: Exaclty, what are New Moons? as you said that solar eclipses only occur during New Moons?

Mitzi: The New Moon occurs when, in the course of its orbit, the Moon is positioned between the Sun and the Earth. The Sun illuminates the far side of the Moon where we can't see it. A New Moon looks dark/invisible to us.

Courtney: Has an eclipse ever occured on Christmas?

Mitzi: Several lunar eclipses have occurred on or near Christmas. I believe the last one was a partial lunar eclipse on Dec 26, 1852. There was also a penumbral eclipse on Dec 15, 1806.

jimmy: Is it possible to hit a golf ball on the moon and it will leave the atmosphere?

Mitzi: Only if you hit it VERY hard. :-)

C-Slice: Is there actually such a thing as a blue moon? And if so what is it? Does it only occur once in a blue moon?

Mitzi: It is rare to have 2 full moons in 1 month. When we see 2 full moons in 1 month we call it a blue moon. The moon is not actually blue in color.

nikki: What determine's how red it will be. More 'stuff' or little 'stuff'.

Mitzi: The more stuff there is in the atmosphere, the more particles there are to scatter the light, so the more ruddy red the moon will appear.

felipeayala: Is it happening right now? I'm trying to watch it through internet because here in my city is raining.

Mitzi: The eclipse has already begun. The total eclipse is beginning now.

jmessina: When will the totality of the eclipse begin?

Mitzi: Should be starting momentarily.

vickster39: ustream is just black is that how it is supposed to be?

Mitzi: Unfortunately we have clouds here in Alabama. Check out one of the other feeds that might have clear weather. http://www.nasa.gov/topics/solarsystem/features/watchtheskies/alt_eclipse_cams.html

benashby: hello, I'm curious why we don't have a lunar eclipse every full moon. During a full moon, the sun, earth and moon align in some fashion, right? There is something I''m missing from this picture though.

Mitzi: The moon's orbit is actually tilted about 5 degrees from the Earth's orbit around the Sun. That means that the Moon spends most of the time either above or below the plane of the Earth's orbit. (The Earth's shadow lies in this plane.) During a full moon, the Moon usually passes either above or below Earth's shadow and misses it entirely -- no eclipse happens. Only occasionally does the Moon actually pass through some part of the Earth's shadow -- this causes an eclipse.

modofskyes; Where did Eclipse's Get thier names from?

Mitzi: It's from ancient Greek meaning "to cease to exist."

Mickalick: When will be the next total lunar eclipse for North America? I can't see this one because of cloud coverage. :(

Mitzi: The next total lunar eclipse is Dec 10, 2011. I believe some part of North America can see it.

rscftw: What rating would you give the eclipse atm? L1, L2, L3 etc...

Mitzi: I'm not sure since I can't see it from Huntsville. It's raining. :-(

01234: What type of eclipse occurs when the Sun is completely obscured by the moon?

Mitzi: This is called a total solar eclipse.

skywatch: Hi there, can the iss crew see the eclipse?

Mitzi: Yes they can.

crazywinniethepooh: Why is the moon red?

Mitzi: Light from the sun is all different colors and it gets filtered as it goes through the Earth's atmosphere. The blue light scatters -- which is why we have a blue sky -- leaving the red and orange.

kayloe: Does the fact that this year's lunar eclipse, and the winter solstice, are occuring together have any significance?

Mitzi: No, not really.

AzureFlame: how long will this eclipse last?

Mitzi: Totality lasts about an hour (72 minutes).

JazzyG: Thank you for answering these questions, I've learned a lot!

Mitzi: My pleasure!

hellooo: This kind of eclipse occurs every 400 years right? What makes it so special?

Mitzi: The hype surrounding this eclipse revolves around the fact that it's occuring near the time of the winter solstice. Other than that, it's not very special as far as lunar eclipses go. Except that it's visible to most all of North America with clear weather!

Mitzi: Everyone, try this page for better viewing options on live cams. Heavy traffic on these links, so you might have to wait for a moment for the page to load: http://www.nasa.gov/topics/solarsystem/features/watchtheskies/alt_eclipse_cams.html

Rabb: Does a lunar eclipse give astronomers any special opportunities for study? As in, is there anything we can do during an eclipse that we couldn't otherwise?

Mitzi: Using a standard list of lunar craters, one can carefully measure the exact time when each crater enters and leaves the umbral shadow. This can be used to estimate the enlargement of Earth's atmosphere due to dust and volcanic ash. The eclipse also allows astronmers here at Marshall Space Flight Center observe meteoroid impacts on the Moon during a lunar phase we'd not normally get to observe.

avac: How often do these eclipses happen?

Mitzi: Total lunar eclipses can happen 0-3 times per year.

Adri: Would the iss crew's view of the eclipse change depending on their position around the Earth?

Mitzi: Yes. The crew can only see it when ISS is in the Earth's shadow as well.

edmonton: meteor shower, anyone know what this will happen

Mitzi: The Ursid meteor shower peaks tomorrow night, but you may see a few tonight during the dark skies provided by the eclipse. The meteor rate is very low, however.

JazzyG: Do we really have to wait 400 years for another one??

Mitzi: The next total lunar eclipse to occur close to the winter solstice is in 2094.

Mysterion: If I drive to another section of town, will I increase my chances of seeing the eclipse?

Mitzi: Only if that section of town has clear skies.

indiana: Mr.Mitz is there anyway we can chat to other experts so we can get our answers quicker:)

Mitzi: We're going as fast as we can, but we're overloaded with questions. :-(

pemguin: Are there differant names for each stage of an Eclipse?

Mitzi: Yes. The partial phase occurs when the moon moves into the penumbra. The total phase is when the moon moves into the umbra.

amber: How many have happned this year ?

Mitzi: 2 lunar eclipses, 2 solar eclipses this year

jimmy: Why can we see the sky full of stars but not the moon?

Mitzi: The stars produce their own light. The moon reflects the light of the Sun. During an eclipse, the moon moves into the shadow of the Earth and doesn't receive any direct light from the Sun. Any light it does get is first filtered through the Earth's atmosphere (this is why it's red).

RebeccaL: Will a transcript be available later? I don't know if I'll be able to stay the whole night.. and if there will be one, where would it be located?

Mitzi: Yes, a transcript will be posted to the chat page later this week.

zack: Will the moon get any darker or is it in totality now?

Mitzi: It's in totality right now. It's not going to get much darker than it is now. Mid eclipse is at 3:17 EST.

peclipse: I saw some meteors mitzi!

Mitzi: Great!

harvardglacier: Why, in TOTAL lunar eclipse, is the moon still visible. One would think, absent sunlight (blocked by the earth, tht it would be black. Does moon continue retain latent heat which allows it to glow, albeit dimmed, for some period? If so, how long of sunlight blockage would be required to make moon go dark?

Mitzi: It's not totally black because there is light from the Sun that is refracted (bent) around the edges of the Earth through the atmosphere.

loosemonstermonkey: Is the eclipse darker because of solstice?

Mitzi: No.

viper: Is the Sun behind the moon right now?

Mitzi: The Sun is behind the Earth right now.

MonkeyKid: it looks like not watchable from east europe even sky is clear.

Mitzi: Not good from eastern Europe -- the moon was setting as the eclipse started. The eclipse is best seen from North America.

melis: the moon slowly became smaller and smaller in the shape of a crescent.. and then just disappeared.. was that the end of the lunar eclipse??

Mitzi: No. What you saw was the beginning part of the partial eclipse and the start of the total eclipse. Soon the total eclipse phase will end and you'll again see a crescent moon that will become a full moon.

Mitzi; Hola Patricia.

tyler4: What will the solstice look like in December 2012? Any different?

Mitzi: There won't be any difference.

rscftw: when is the next total solar

Mitzi: The next total solar eclipse will be Nov 13, 2012.

kyro: Are you using wikipedia to answer our questions? it takes ages replying =( specialized and technical routine questions =(

Mitzi: No.

tiny-tim: Hey mr.mitzi i only have one question i will really appreciated if someone anyone in the east coast can tell me if they see the eclpse happening now?

Mitzi: Yes the eclipse is happening now.

ajp: The time it took "see" the eclipese happening compared how long has been what now appears to be a total eclipse is very different... it seems to have been the same for the last 15 - 20 minutes... what is the cause of this?

Mitzi: Totality lasts for about an hour so you may not see much change until about 3 am Central Standard Time.

kendra: What phase\stage is the eclipse in right now?

Mitzi: Totality right now.

spaceman: Im ten years old i want to now how long the meteor shower last?

Mitzi: The Ursid meteor shower peaks tomorrow night but you may still see some tonight/this morning.

pemguin: So right now were in the Penumbra?

Mitzi: No, right now we are in the Umbra.

Steven: What is the MoonSet and the MoonRise?

Mitzi: Moon set is the time when the moon disappears below the western horizon. Moon rise is the time when the moon appears above the eastern horizon.

Nic: thank you for answering our questions :) nite!

Mitzi: You're welcome!

plan: Is penumbra the shadow of earths atmoshere and the umbra the shadow of the earth itself?

Mitzi: No, not exactly. All shadows have 2 parts to them, a penumbra and an umbra. The umbra is the darkest part of the shadow.

ahsszqs: I come feom china.in china,can we see lunar eclipse?

Mitzi: It depends on where you are in China. Eastern China may be able to see the end of the eclipse as the moon rises.

rscftw: when is the next total solar eclipse? viewable from kentucky? (last question before i go to bed)

Mitzi: The solar eclipse on Aug 21, 2017 will be total in Nashville, TN -- it may be total in Kentucky.

tyler4: WIll any upcoming sunspots affect life on Earth?

Mitzi: Nope.

asdf: I want to see the lunar eclipse, but I have no idea where to search.

Mitzi: Go outside and look for the Moon. It will be in the southwest part of the sky. It may be very faint right now.

Proudly_Canadian: Will the Moon get any brighter throughout the night?

Mitzi: Yes. The total lunar eclipse will end around 3 CST and you'll see a crescent Moon become full once again.

proto: Does a lunar eclipse carry anything similar to Haily's beads?

Mitzi: No

thegreatgiginthesky: Which do you like more, solar or lunar eclipses?

Mitzi: They both have their appeal. A lunar eclipse is longer, but a solar eclipse is more dramatic.

advin05: when is the next eclipse schedule?

Mitzi: The next total lunar eclipse is Dec 10, 2011.

samtam: how high above the horizon?

Mitzi: It depends on your longitude but the Moon is very high in the sky.

DallasMom: I would rate this an L2--as defined earlier in this discussion: L=2 is a deep red or rust-colored eclipse where the central shadow is very dark and the outer edge of the umbra is relatively bright...at least that's what I'm seeing in Dallas!

Mitzi: Thanks for your observation, that's great!

magicaldarkmoonelf: Have you been to the moon before?

Mitzi: No, but one of my friends has. :-)

Mitzi: Everyone, try this page for better viewing options on live cams. Heavy traffic on these links, so you might have to wait for a moment for the page to load: http://www.nasa.gov/topics/solarsystem/features/watchtheskies/alt_eclipse_cams.html

ahsszqs: i just enter this page.how can i see the passed chat content?

Mitzi: A transcript of the chat will be posted on this website later this week.

MoonGoddess1212: I may have missed it, but how often does a phenomena like this occur?

Mitzi: You can have up to 3 total lunar eclipses per year.

Yavatar: Will ISS be passing (or have passed) through the shadow?

Mitzi: Yes, it will pass through the shadow several times.

CARBUFF: Disregarding cloud cover, can the eclipse be seen better in a particular part of the US than elsewhere?

Mitzi: No. The US has a pretty good view of the eclipse this December. Except for the clouds that is!

carol: Why does the moon seem so small? Because it's so high in the sky?

Mitzi: When the moon is close to the horizon you've got trees and buildings to compare it to -- so it appears very large! But when the moon is high in the sky you no longer have any references, so it appears smaller. It's not changing sizes, however, it's just a matter of perception.

pemguin: What constellation is that closest to the moon? Is it a dipper?

Mitzi: That is Orion.

Fraley: How dark would it be on the surface of the moon right now? Is it in pitch darkness?

Mitzi: It would be dark, but not totally dark.

irideatinybike: How long does it last?

Mitzi: Totality lasts about an hour. The eclipse will be over by about 5 EST.

bryangatti: soooooo the lunar eclipse is over?

Mitzi: No, not yet.

Adri: Does the eclipse affect the moon or the Earth in any way other than the moon going into shadow??

Mitzi: No.

Michael: Why the red color? I realize the light refracts around the earth to give the moon some light but why red?

Mitzi: Blue light scatters more in Earth's atmosphere. Red light scatters less.

Mitzi: Hi Brenda!

jdalager: How much of a temperature change is there on the Moon surface where the Earth's shadow is?

Proudly_Canadian: Why is the moon where I live (Northern Canada) not as orange as it looks in pictures that I see on the internet?

Mitzi: The pictures may be from past eclipses when the atmosphere had different amounts of volcanic dust and gases.

eyescoloredgreen: Will the moon still be orange at 4 am?

Mitzi: It depends on where you are.

DhanuLunarFire: Well then, Mitzi, thank you for taking the time to respond all of our questions. I truly do appreciate it! Hope to join another NASA chat in the near future!

Mitzi: You're welcome!

kendra: If we get a solar eclipse every 2 years what is the hyp about this one?? What makes this one different then any others besides it landing on winter solstice?? How does Winter Solstice make it different? And what is the hype about once every 500 years?

Mitzi: This eclipse is not really that different. But is just curious that it happens to occur close to the Winter Solstice. And we now have a lot of technology that allows us to view the eclipse even if it's cloudy where we are.

Dr.Who: Mitzi how would a young 26 year old space enthusiast like myself get to meet NASA scientists in person?

Mitzi: Visit a NASA center, go to museums where NASA people are giving special talks, or go to meetings like that given by the American Astronomical Society.

cyborg_court: Which direction in the sky is the moon right now?

Mitzi: In the southwest.

rockstdy02: when was the first recorded lunar eclipse?

Mitzi: The ancient Chinese did a lot of observations of astronomical events, but I'm not sure who recorded the first lunar eclipse or when.

Mitzi: Try this page for better viewing options on live cams. Heavy traffic on these links, so you might have to wait for a moment for the page to load: http://www.nasa.gov/topics/solarsystem/features/watchtheskies/alt_eclipse_cams.html

blah: As an aspiring astronomer, what colleges do you recommend?

Mitzi: The University of Arizona is well-known for astronomy.

rockstdy02: does every eclipse last the exact same amount of time?

Mitzi: No it doesn't.

Lunar_Dragon: The moon is brighting now is the eclipse ending.

Mitzi: Yes, we are coming out of totality.

Nemo: Why is it dangerous to stare in to solar eclipses, but not lunar eclipses?

Mitzi: Because you could be looking directly into the sun during a solar eclipse. But the moon shines because of reflected sunlight and that's not dangerous.

tanguma17: im in dallas texas and i imagined the moon would look really red but it doesnt so far...will it look that way at any point?

Mitzi: It's hard to predict what color a lunar eclipse will be. So if it's not looking extremely red now it probably won't, since we're coming out of totality.

tvvideotrader: I am in Orlando,FL. Do I still have time to see the eclipse?

Mitzi: We're coming out of totality, but you can still see some of the partial phase.

drew: Is there a significant change in the gravitational forces during eclipses because of the alignment? And if so what are the effects?

Mitzi: No.

lunabean: My kids saw a random video entitled "lunar eclipse ends the world" can you confirm for my little stargazers the short/long term effects of tonights eclipse? :)

Mitzi: There are no effects from tonight's eclipse.

avac: Thanks for being so thorough! Learned a lot! Goodnight! Or good morning :)

Mitzi: You're quite welcome!

LobsterMan: When the eclipse was just starting, and now that the light is starting to come back, there seems to be a thin blue "aura" around the brightest parts of the moon (I can see it in some of the webcasts too). Is this anything real or am I just imagining it?

Mitzi: Not imagining it!

underwoodl06: Can the International Space Station crew view the eclipse and are they taking pictures?

Mitzi: They can, and they may be trying to take pictures. They'll be passing through the shadow three times.

JULCRAFT: HI, is there anything special about the stars that are in alignment to the moon?

Mitzi: No -- not really any stars aligned to the moon.

goodreggie: Is the eclipse over?

Mitzi: Totality is ending now, but still a partial phase to go through.

drew: Is there a significant change in the gravitational forces during eclipses because of the alignment? And if so what are the effects?

Mitzi: No change in the gravitational forces.

tiny-tim: hello im sad that i didnt get to see the eclipse and no one has answered my ?

Mitzi: Hi Tim -- I'm sad, too, because it was raining here in Huntsville. I didn't get to see it either...but glad you're in the chat. :)

etccda: Greetings from Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Snow and clouds here. Enjoying your discriptions. What a trip.

Mitzi: Great! Thank you.

whatliesabove: when the eclipse is taking place, why does the moon turn a red colour?

Mitzi: Light from the sun is all different colors and it gets filtered as it goes through the Earth's atmosphere. The blue light scatters -- which is why we have a blue sky -- leaving the red and orange.

DanielGunter: I'm Mad with NASA... The United States funds Millions of dollars to look at the stars and launch spacecrafts and we cant even get a good view of the moon on the website and its very aggrivating when you ask a simple ? and it doesnt get answered.

Mitzi: Hi Daniel -- unfortunately, we can't control the weather. Wish we could!

Penguinsftw: Well i didnt get to see any of it any predictions when the next eclipse is?

Mitzi: Next total lunar eclipse is Dec. 10, 2011. Maybe we'll do this again next year. :)

Kaitlin12: Im in florence alabama HOW CAN I SEE IT?

Mitzi: I'm sorry! It's just too rainy here.

Miraj: Does the universe revolve around the sun?

Mitzi: No, it doesn't.

DRRODDY: Being in education, I think it is really a nice opportunity that NASA provides to have a live chat with a scientist. Do you know of any schools that have this chat opportunity as part of their curriculum? How often are chats like this available?

Mitzi: Thank you for that. We do know that some schools have involved our chats in their lessons. On the frequency, it's mainly about whatever topics happen to be timely. For example, we had two overnight chats this month because the Geminids and the lunar eclipse both happened in December. Last summer we did a "summer science camp" series that was very successful, so we might do that again.

Alex9MD: Why is there a big slice of white at the top of the moon?

Mitzi: Because the moon is coming out of totality and is just entering the penumbra from the umbra.

mizo: Will the entire world get to see the eclipse tonight?

Mitzi: No, but a large portion of the world had that opportunity, provided they had clear weather.

jak: the eclipse started on the left will it end on the right?

Mitzi: Yes, that's right.

Dr.Who: Would life still exist on Earth without the moon?

Mitzi: Some say maybe not, but it's a debatable point.

Damianmariconte: omgggggggggggggg please answer, will i miss the eclipse? im from australia / sydney, & looking forward to seeing it ! is there a live footage that i can watch or will i see what remains of it befor it ends in sydney?!!?!?!

Mitzi: Damian, you can see the eclipse at moonrise in Sydney.

chrisj: Would a lunar eclipse on jupiter look the same as on earth, or different?

Mitzi: Would depend where you were, since Jupiter has so many moons and they're all different sizes.

lunabean: Thank you tons..my little guys have had a full night of fun and awesome info thanks to you guys. We all wanted to say THANKS and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Mitzi: You're so welcome. Thanks for being here.

bridgeplayer: What lunar luminosity ("L") do you give this eclipse?

Mitzi: We had clouds here, so I didn't get to see it.

fgdf: when will the next solar eclipse happen in southern ontario? thank you for answering all these questions!

Mitzi: Try this link, but you might want to try it tomorrow. :) http://www.mreclipse.com/

Penguinsftw: Is it possible to mimic a lunar eclipse (Like with a light) and what could you use as the moon?

Mitzi: Yes, teachers do it all the time. They use a light and probably an Earth globe and a softball for the moon.

luisbeto8: is there a lunar eclipse every year?

Mitzi: There could be, up to 3 total lunar eclipses in a year.

PATRICIA: Hola Mitzi es comun que en un eclipse lunar haya tambien caida de meteoritos?

Mitzi: The Ursid meteor shower peaks tomorrow but you might be able to see a few now.

lunabean: is there a reason for all the meteor showers around the moon tonight or are they just more noticeable due to the eclipse?

Mitzi: Meteors would be more noticeable since the moon is eclipsed and there's less light pollution, but there is a meteor shower that peaks tomorrow night: the Ursids, appearing to come from Ursa Major.

nikki: What determines how many moons a planet can have?

Mitzi: Chance. If you have more mass like Jupiter, it's possible to capture more moons.

Windowwisher: Will all the planets ever make a full alignment with each other?

Mitzi: They do that often.

Fraley: Are you a NASA scientist or do you work in Public Relations?

Mitzi: I'm a NASA scientist.

AshleyMarie73: I've been trying to find an answer online but I've been getting mixed results. When was the last time the full lunar eclipse ocurred during the winter solstice and when should we expect it to happen again?

Mitzi: Previous in 1638, the next in 2094.

CDRRod: What color will the moon turn after totality has ended? :)

Mitzi: Back to its normal color.

aneiza: Thank you Mr. Mintzi for taking the time to answer all of our questions. But before I go, my friend wants to know: "Star Wars or Star Trek?"

Mitzi: It depends on my mood. :)

woll: I see plenty of shooting stars, are these from the same group of meteoroids from a couple weeks ago?

Mitzi: No, but you may be seeing sporadics not associated with any particular meteor shower...and possibly some Ursids.

loosemonstermonkey: so, are there mountains of diamonds on Titan?

Mitzi: No.

whatliesabove: question from a highschooler in California- i am trully in love with astronomy, what are good fields in astronomy, like career wise?? like nasa, or anything that involves astronomy?

Mitzi: Study physics, lots of math. You could study high-energy astrophysics, become a planetary astronomer or a solar astronomer, like me!

Mullets184: please answer my question mitzt !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! why is the moon coming uncovered from top to bottom?

Mitzi: It's just the moon moving out of the shadow.

grantad: Back in 98 or so was my first lunar eclipse. When the moon reached totality I saw more stars in the sky than I ever have before or since. I missed totality tonight. So I don't know if all the stars were out again. Was that an affect of the eclipse blocking light pollution from the moon or was that something else?

Mitzi: You probably just had a good sky and you were very well dark-adapted.

Mitzi: Everyone, try this page for better viewing options on live cams. Heavy traffic on these links, so you might have to wait for a moment for the page to load: http://www.nasa.gov/topics/solarsystem/features/watchtheskies/alt_eclipse_cams.html

Lunar_Dragon: Are summer eclipse usually slightly longer since the sun is farther away?

Mitzi: Actually, the sun is somewhat closer to Earth in summer. But no, the length has to do with the position of the moon and its orbit around the Earth.

dianne: Do you still see the eclipse if you are very high up in an airplane?

Mitzi; Yes, if you fly above an area of the Earth that's seeing the eclipse.

Alex9MD: I'm 9 year old and my Question is why is the moon red?

Mitzi: Hi Alex. Light from the sun is all different colors and it gets filtered as it goes through the Earth's atmosphere. The blue light scatters -- which is why we have a blue sky -- leaving the red and orange.

bridgeplayer: Read the next solar eclipse in USA is Aug 21, 2017, do you have plan in being there? path goes from Pacific NorthWest to Southeast Coast.

Mitzi: Yes, the path of totality goes through Nashville, TN, conveniently located to Huntsville, Alabama. I'll be there.

jeabram: why are there brighter twinkling stars out tonight? are they planets?

Mitzi: There are planets, Saturn is visible tonight, but the stars shouldn't be brighter or dimmer than usual. Could be your atmosphere.

JB.9499: How is the International Space Station crew passing thru the shadow 3 times?

Mitzi: The Space Station is in orbit around the Earth and its orbit takes it through the Earth's shadow three times during this eclipse.

sadia: what does a meteor shower look like?

Mitzi: We often call meteors shooting stars, but they aren't really stars. They're bits of dust, maybe the size of a pea, that burn up in the Earth's atmosphere and leave a trail of light. A meteor shower is when there are a lot of these bits of dust coming through the air.

esther; what time will the ursid meteor peak tomorrow?

Mitzi: Best time to look at a meteor shower is always after midnight. Usually, because the Earth kind of turns into the stream of the meteors, anytime after 3:00 a.m. is good.

bullets184: why aren't you answering my question.. i have asked almost thirty times now... why is the moon coming uncovered from top to bottom ... my class is very interested to know the answer to this question.

Mitzi: The moon is passing out of the umbral shadow into the penumbral shadow.

Lunar_Dragon(Q) whens the 2012 Venus transit?

Mitzi: June 6, 2012.

pchalla90: Is it true that there are around 17,000 meteors or meteorites that enter the Earth's atmosphere every day, but most are invisible due to light pollution?

Mitzi: We don't know an exact number, but most would be invisible because of light pollution from sunlight -- because it's daytime.

pemguin: When your not running live chats like this what do you do at NASA?

Mitzi: I'm a solar scientist and I study X-ray emissions from the sun.

Bugg: I heard that this was the 1st total lunar eclipse in 500 years, but this morning on NBC News they said it was the first since 2004. Then they said that it was the 1st to occur during the solstice in 400 yrs. I'm confused. How rare was this mornings eclipse?

Mitzi: This is the first total lunar eclipse that occured close to the winter solstice -- the last time this happened was 1638. But we have lunar eclipses frequently. Next year we'll have another total lunar eclipse Dec. 10, 2011.

jgold: Isnt the lunar eclipse caused from the moon passing through the Earth's Penumbra where the dust orbiting the Earth is then reflected onto the moon?

Mitzi: There are two parts to the Earth's shadow. The deepest is the umbra -- the moon passes into the penumbra first, then the umbra, then back into the penumbra on the other side. The Earth is blocking light from the Sun only light can still pass through the edges of the Earth's atmosphere and dust in the atmosphere bends the light, giving the eclipse its red color.

DwntwnShreveport: MITZI! I found a ABC press release that has you discussing tonight's event with the newsdesk on television! Here's the URL from my browser:

Mitzi: Yep, that was me!

etccda: Mitzi, we witnessed a total solar eclipse in the late 1980's (I think). My kids were finishing swimming lessons in So Cal. As we all walked to the parking lot, the color of the sky and our suroundings changed to a strange dark orange. Even sound seemed different (maybe an illusion). It was kind-of unsettling, very weird. It lasted about 15 minutes. I wondered what ancient man must have thought when it happened to them--the end of the world? This is a moment in time that has brought all of us together. Here's to better times ahead. The next time time this happens, we'll all be dust in the wind. Happy holidays to all.

Mitzi: Yes, eclipses were really big events to ancient peoples.

pandora_monroe: ok is the moon coming back out im kinda confused.

Mitzi: Yes, it's moving into the penumbra. The eclipse is winding down, as am I. :)

nasafan1999: ANSWER MY QUESTION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!WILL THERE B ALOT OF SHOOTING STARS DURING LUNAR ECLIPSE?????

Mitzi: There are no more shooting stars, or meteors, during the eclipse than normal. However, there is a meteor shower that peaks tomorrow: the Ursids.

Mitzi: A little bit of the eclipse left, so here are some links. Heavy traffic on these links, so you might have to wait for a moment for the page to load: http://www.nasa.gov/topics/solarsystem/features/watchtheskies/alt_eclipse_cams.html

ALAMO: Good morning from Rob at the ALAMO. Y'all done good as usual.

Mitzi; Yeah, thanks. Hope we see some great pictures! We still have snacks.

coryjosph: will there be a transcript of chat ?

Mitzi: Yes, check back in a few days and one will be posted on this page.

miasmom: Is there a way to get a complete transcript of your chat tonight for my class?

Mitzi; Yes, just check back in a few days to this page.

MaxxFordham: Is the eclipse completely over, or is there still some shadow?

Mitzi: Still a little bit of shadow.

drew: Mitzi, does the color of the rays the sun gives off have any relation to how hot those rays are?

Mitzi: Matter that's hot can emit light that has a lot of energy, like X-ray radiation. Matter that's cooler can emit light that's infrared.

Manni: Tomorrow you can see the ursids but where will they be?

Mitzi: Look straight up in a dark sky, away from city lights. The full moon may have an effect on viewing.

astroman: Is it fair to expect to see meteors hitting the moon during this lunar eclipse? (Ursid + no atmosphere around the moon)

Mitzi: It could happen, and we have researchers looking for that.

eclipsewatcher: what happened to the video feed that was here?

Mitzi: We removed that because it was too cloudy to be useful here in Huntsville.

Mitzi: Everyone we're winding down the chat and have time for just a couple more questions.

Fraley: Thanks Mitzi!

Mitzi: You're welcome!

Fraley: Can scientists learn anything by observing an eclipse or are the all pretty much the same?

Mitzi: We can learn about the composition of Earth's atmosphere.

tech-chef: PLEASE answer my question about the moon size-In movies it appears large-I want to know if there are states where the moon does appear to be larger then in other states?

Mitzi: The moon may appear very large as rising or setting. This is a psychological effect and has to do with having objects on the horizon for comparison.

miasmom: Thanks for sharing your time and knowledge! My family and I appreciate it (and so will my class)

Mitzi; Glad you were able to be here and ask questions! Thanks.

_matt: Thanks for all the cool info and questions. What a great show tonight! See you all in 2094! LOLZ

Mitzi: See you then. :)

Mitzi: Thanks so much to everyone for the great questions. This has been a really great night, and I enjoyed it very much. Hope you all can get some sleep. Have a good night -- check back soon for a transcript of tonight's chat.

Janet Anderson, 256-544-6162
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.
Janet.L.Anderson@nasa.gov