Tonight will be the darkest night of the past 500 years

Thanks to a lunar eclipse on the longest night of the year, tonight we’ll be experiencing the longest, darkest night in a very long time. It’s been nearly 500 years since the last solstice lunar eclipse. Here’s what you’ll see.

Eclipse photo by Chris Hondros/Getty.

NYU science journalism professor John Rennie explains what you’re likely to see in the wee hours of the morning:

1. Faint penumbral dimming of the moon’s disk.
2. Pervasive creeping sensations of unease.
3. Howling of wolves.
4. Unclean things walk the earth; Dick Cheney rises from the grave.
5. Contortion of the zodiac.
6. Intrusion of strange dimensions.
7. Universal gibbering madness.
8. Cthulhu.
9. A glimmer of sanity in the chaos.
10. Restoration of Euclidean geometry.
11. Fungal Mi-go from Yuggoth return captive brains to their rightful owners.
12. Applause, followed by waffles for breakfast.

Erm, actually that might not be the most accurate account. Damn journalists, always misrepresenting scientific results! Over at Sky and Telescopeyou can get the real story on what the five possible stages of the eclipse are.

According to Wired Science:

The Earth’s shadow will begin to blot out the moon at 1:32 a.m. EST (10:32 p.m. PST). During totality, when the Earth is directly between the moon and the sun, the moon will turn a rusty orange-red for 72 minutes from 2:41 a.m. to 3:53 a.m. EST (11:41 p.m. to 12:53 a.m. PST).

Europe and Africa will only get a partial view of the eclipse, but for those of us here in the Americas the best times to watch are during those 72 minutes of totality.

Here’s a handy map showing the path of the eclipse:

Tonight will be the darkest night of the past 500 years

[Source via io9]

Comments

comments

  • Brody S

    Newer than 2009 please :)
    Nothing old fashioned.
    A good example is Mr Deeds or the movie called Just go with it and I already watched EVERY Cameron Diaz movie, What happened in Vegas was most certainly amazing..

    Any suggestions?

  • Matt

    I want some blackout curtains for my daughters room, now it’s much lighter on a morning she wakes up really early, and when the clocks go forward it will be even worse!
    Please let me know of any good websites or stores that sell them, I am in the UK by the way.
    Thank you.

  • John G

    This is for quite a big window, 96″ drop and width 89″. I looked into buying blackout blinds to put behind the curtains but it seems my drop is too long for blinds. I also looked at buying ready made black out curtain linings which you hook on the back of existing curtains but it looks like you need the traditional sort of pleated type of curtain to do that.
    Any ideas gratefully received!

  • Thomas Lopez

    How can I tell if someone is having a blackout. Basically I wana know if they’re gonna remember this the next day.

  • skillz

    I swear I saw somewhere that a holiday blackout period can’t exceed 60 days and I can’t seem to find where I saw it. In our company handbook, it states the blackout period is usually 30-60 days as well. No one told me it was mandatory and I’ve only been working here a year and came after the holidays last year so didn’t know anything of this.

    I requested time off in early October for this January because I’m seeing my boyfriend and he goes back to college in mid January and was in college throughout this entire time. A few weeks back, I booked it off because my employer usually tells me if I can/can’t have those days and it’s been a month so I figured it would be safe. I already paid for my flight and accommodations and doubt I can get my money back. I also asked my coworker who had been there for 6 years about a possible blackout period and she told me she’s never heard of a mandatory blackout at that store as she herself took off once during the holidays for a few days so I thought it was safe.

    My manager just put up a sheet of paper on the wall yesterday that states, “this is currently a blackout period and no employee is allowed vacation from October 1st to February 2nd. All vacation requests will be denied.” I asked that same coworker about it and she said that she never saw them implement that before as a mandatory period of time as others take off during the holiday season.

    I don’t know what to do. I already paid money and no one communicated this to me. I never worked retail and my friend works retail and she’s only obligated to work the month of December. Why is our blackout period 4 months long and how do I ever see my boyfriend? I need the money but love him and I can’t afford to lose the money for the hotel/flight.

    Thank you in advance.
    * 5 months
    * I should add that I’m taking 4 days off.
    I’m in the USA.
    thank you

  • whites are not the only racists

    Newer than 2009 please :)
    Nothing old fashioned.
    A good example is Mr Deeds or the movie called Just go with it and I already watched EVERY Cameron Diaz movie, What happened in Vegas was most certainly amazing..

    Any suggestions?