Winter Solstice Eclipse 2010   37 comments


This is the first time in nearly 400 years a Total Lunar Eclipse has taken place in conjunction with the Winter Solstice. The last time was December 21st 1638 and such an event will not be repeated again until December 21st  2094. The official astronomical date for the Winter Solstice is December 22nd


A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon moves through the Earth’s shadow, an event which only occurs when the Moon is full. During a Total Lunar Eclipse the Earth and the Moon are arrayed almost exactly in line, with the Moon and the Sun on opposite sides of the Earth.  The last one occurred in February 2008. This Winter Solstice Eclipse, known as “Selenelion” or the “Horizontal Eclipse” – when the Sun and the eclipsed Moon can be seen simultaneously, showing above the horizon at opposite points in the sky, is a once in a lifetime experience.



The Full Moon began moving into the Earth’s shadow about 06:32 GMT. The Total Eclipse got underway about 07:40 GMT and reached maximum at 08:17 GMT, lasting a total of 73 minutes, ending 08:53 GMT. The best views in UK were from the Northern skies, the Southern skies being totally obscured by heavy cloud cover.  Also during totality the Moon moves through the Northern of the Earth’s shadow or “Umbra” so the Southern half was much darker.


How bright a Total Lunar Eclipse proves to be is dependant on atmospheric conditions on Earth, as all the light that falls on the Moon has to first pass through Earth’s atmosphere. During this Winter Solstice this Total Lunar Eclipse the Moon turned a deep coppery red, in shades akin to Mars, and was much darker than normal.

Red_Moon Mars earth_rim_on_fire

Seen from the Moon, when the eclipse is underway the rim of planet Earth would appear to be on fire. This is the result of seeing every single sunrise and every single sunset in the world all at the same time. This creates an incredibly powerful light which filters through to the very centre of the Earth’s dark umbra, lighting it up with a copper-red glow. Consequently the Moon is transformed into a world of glowing ember red, sending colours the shade of fire dancing across the fallen snow of Earth.



Winter Solstice also known as “Yule” falls on the shortest day of the year and means “Stand-Still Sun.” It is one of the world’s oldest winter celebrations and the one on to which Christmas was attached around 1,600 years ago.



Predating probably even the solstice was the “Mediaeval Winter Festival of Apple Wassailing.” Involving the blessing of apples, songs, dancing and decorations…and a drink of cider SmileMug to ensure their fertility, this festival was linked to nature’s themes of rebirth and fertility.

life_tree_winter_solstice gaias-winter-restWinterSolsticewinter-solstice-sunrise-to-sunset

Druids gave Mistletoe, winter fruit cut from the sacred Oak Tree. This was a symbol of life during the cold, dark winter months. Traditionally the Yule Log, on the first day of Solstice was, for 12 hours through the night, burned to banish evil spirits and symbolise hope, and their belief in the return of the Sun. A belief also incorporated into Christmas celebrations as “The Birth of the Son.”


Ancient hunters revered and worshipped the Sun. Norsemen viewed the Sun as a wheel changing the seasons. It is likely the word “Yule” was derived from the word “wheel” (houle). At Mid-Winter Norsemen shared stories around roaring bonfires and drank sweet ale.


“Stonehenge” is the perfect marker for both  Summer and Winter Solstices. “Newgrange” in Ireland which is 5,000 years older than the Egyptian Pyramids is an ancient round structure designed by it’s builders to receive a shaft of sunlight at Winter Solstice dawn, deep into its Central Chamber. “Maeshowe” on the Orkney Islands North of Scotland operates similarly, receiving a beam of the setting Winter Solstice Sun.


Many Mediaeval Cathedral Churches were also built to be Solar Observatories and astronomers used them to predict the dates for Easter. Consequently they were also built into cathedrals and churches throughout Europe. they received a stream of sunlight through a hole in the roof to trace a path on the floor known as the “Meridian Line.”


37 responses to “Winter Solstice Eclipse 2010

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  1. I’d read abolut this one Wolfie, and went out last night to have a look, but though there was a full moon I didn’t see any eclipse unless it was in the early hours, my window looks right on to the moon and I kept checking. oh well I’ll just have to wait till 2094 and hope for better luck. I did see the druids [on telly] celebrating at Stonehenge. does that count? I admit I didn’t read all your post, as it is a bit beyond me nowadays. but I loved the pics, and I bet it was very interesting and informative.

    • You didn’t read ALL my post Arlene???!!!!! 😉 How very naughty of you!!! No…I’m joking, that you were generous enough with your time to even think about stopping by and taking a quick look shows what a kind and thoughtful friend you are 🙂 I did wonder about the wisdom of posting anything at all at this hectic time but it’s nature didn’t lend itself to waiting. It may have been better to split it into 2 halves given the length of the thing lol but time was against Wolfie by then and I hadn’t even checked out anyone else on W/P by 10pm 😉 And I will be joining you in 2094!!! I saw absolutely nothing but cloud either!

      • SSSSSSorry Wolfie, but I had to highlight it to read it as the print is samll for my old eyes and the background sort of shows through, I’ll go sit on the naughty step till I get some new glasses.

      • Oh! so it’s all Wolfie’s fault now is it?!! Ok…Wolfie will go and sit in a dark cold corner of the blog page and eat worms! lol!

        Hmm…have had a few comments in re the background and I suspect there are others who feel the same way but don’t mention it, altho I have no problem with constructive criticism. Re the print size, I figured you guys with desktop PCs would see it much larger than I do on a widescreen laptop. At least it appears so on the library PC screens. I will look into making some changes to bk grnd and print but it is not an easy task for Wolfie!! 🙂 Now…go and sit on the naughty step!!!! lol

  2. BTW, your site [though very nice] doesn’t help things in this cold weather, it gives me goose bumps when I see all that ice and cold looking water. bbbbbbrrrr, turn on the heating. ….puleeeze.

    • Heating’s on full but don’t want to melt all the ice do we? lol…Wolfie does not like getting her paws wet! Not in the slightest!!

    • Yes….another comment! Well you did say you liked feedback! lol 😉

      I don’t want you catching a cold on your festive visit…so I have a large plateful of hot mince pies and a steaming hot jug of mulled wine on the side of the blog page for you!!! For Tango and Ruby there’s a rather fine selection of mince pie-shaped dog treats and large dog-friendly turkey bones 😉

      • I am in ecstasy over all these comments, you do spoil me,\ thank you, BUT I see no pies and wine, are you sure you left them? or have the been filched, come on own up, who stole Arlene’s goodies?

      • What do you mean…You see no pies and wine?!! What’s this then?!! 😉 I don’t know…no pleasing some people!! You should’ve gone to specsavers!!!! lol 😉


    • I think you’re getting cheekier by the day Arlene! They were there all the time!…how many glasses of wine did you have before you arrived in the Icy Realm? lol I mean it’s not as if Wolfie would have developed a tinsy winsy hunger pang or 10 and felt morally obliged to consume your mince pies is it…? lol 🙂 Tango and Ruby might’ve done tho!! Hope you had a lovely Christmas Day 🙂

      • Glasses, of wine, shudder, now if your talking Baileys, then I would plead guilty M’lord or Lady. on the other hand, perhaps these specsavers ‘glasses’ are to blame. LOL
        Yes thank you I had a very good and full blown Christmas, pass the Alka Seltzer.
        Was yours good too, with plenty of indulgences of the foody kind of course.

      • Well yes! I can see from your blogs you had a very good and full on Christmas!! And you’re still after Baileys?!! I think you need taking in hand Arlene 🙂 and led to the nearest Specsavers! lol 😉 Christmas was very quiet here but I did have the house to myself for a change and I made up for it as soon as the shops opened and I could go shopping!! Was that you I saw in the mirror next to mine in the changing rooms??!! 😉

  3. I didn’t see the lunar eclipse. I wish that I had. 😦 I’ll be more alert next time.

    happy winter solstace.

    • I didn’t see it either 😦 The view from Ice wolf homeworld, Europa was obscured by the giant gas planet of Jupiter!! The best place to see it was supposed to Northern Ireland…much too far for Wolfie to travel 😉 A few thousand miles across space for this thrilling experience didn’t appeal to me too much! Lovely to see you again btw…hope you have a great Christmas 🙂

  4. Something I found interesting as I was checking my emails, I was wondering why I hadn’t heard you mention this eclipse/solstice….then…oh dear, you have this blog!!! LOL, is it a sign? We are one the same Moon Waves???
    Anyway, I didn’t know that it had been 400 yrs, now that is amazing. This universe is full on such wonderous events and happenings as is our own little Earthi-verse.
    We were all so disappointed we had only clouds in the sky and my brother’s telescopes were of no use.
    This is a great read as usual, you have done it again with remarkable graphics too. The symbolism and history of these subjects are facinating to me… Stone Hedge, the Egyptian Pyramids and also Mayan are wonderous events.
    Be well and smiles,

    • “Earthi-verse”??!!! 😉 Love the latest Raven-word! lol…yes…I think it would be perfectly normal and natural to assume we are on the “same Moon Waves” 😉 Nothing but cloud here either…no chance of seeing a bean out there and I wasn’t in Ireland where all the action could be seen 😦 Freeze the Icy paws off running all the way there from Europa! lol I’m surprised you didn’t see the eclipse/solstice on your “Santa Raven” flybys now I think of it!

      Thank you for taking time out at this busiest of times on a festive flyby with this most welcome comment, my lovely feathered friend 🙂 You are much appreciated…and I wish you an awesome Christmas!…Be good!!!!! x 😉

      • I really like this blog Wolfie, it is such a wonderous event and the pictures of it are beautiful. We live in such a magical world…here and there in Europa. How lucky I feel to be witness to it. Glad you share these blogs with us.
        BTW I like blues, purples, black combinations like here in your background…lovely.
        hugs, Rx

      • I should think you see a great deal of magic in your part of the world 🙂 The magic of nature is an awesome gift when we are given the pleasure of witnessing it. Europa is a constant source of mystery and beauty…an unfathomable world where life may exist in abundance far beneath the oceanic depths…tried changing the colour tones of the bkgnd but don’t like the effect much so I’m glad you like it as it comes…the main problem is the white bits but ice is white!!! So what’s a wolfie supposed to do??!!! lol 😉 Maybe I need to take some tips off your cool site! x 🙂

  5. Great blog; fascinating accumilation of material and wonderful display of pictures.
    Enjoy the holidays!
    love, Eddie

  6. Have a very merry x/mas day Timid one.
    kenny x

    • Thank you Kenny! How very thoughtful of you, I hope that this day finds you in good spirits and that you are feeling well enough to relax and enjoy today, a little of the “deep peace of the running wave!” 🙂

  7. Hey – Happy Christmas or Yule to you.
    Good pictures – reminds me that I was inside Newgrange (one of your bottom pics) for the winter solstice one year. Excellent experience. People apply and names are drawn from a hat. It can take years to be chosen. It did it for work, so I skipped all that. Sadly the inner chamber was not naturally lit up because it was overcast. Hey – I”m being honest. It’s well woprth a visit if you’re in Ireland or the Boyne Valley.

    • Yo! Yuletide greetings….How lucky are you getting to visit Newgrange in person! Your work has real cool advantages 🙂 I don’t live all that far from Stonehenge and I still haven’t got myself over there for solstice yet. Newgrange on the other hand…now that I could see myself making the trip for…preferably on a day that is not overcast! No good going for the Summer solstice then…the good ole British weather would undoubtedly do its worst 🙂

  8. fangtastic Posting This One Icywolfy of the Icy Realm, You Have Done Us ALL Proud with This Fine Offering and I Really Like The Graphics As They Enhance The Excellence of Your Blog To A Teeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee…

    Have a Fangtastical Time Now and Don’t Get Too Merry As The New Year of 2011 approaches… we don’t Want You To Miss Out On All The Merry-Making… lol Grab a Glass of the Red icywolfy… Happy New Year To You…

    Andro & Jen XXx

    • HooOOOOOOOOOWWWWWLLLLLLLLLLLLLooooooooooooooooooo!!! Thank you Androgoth 🙂 and how wickedly and ghoulishly pleasing to see you back in my Icy Realm! In fact…have a “Glass of the Red” on Icewolfie!! And no…lol…it’s not fresh from the wolf!! I reserved a place in the Gothic Realm for the New Year’s Celebrations….so look out! Have a ghoultastic zombies big toe of a Vampytastic Happy New Year 2011 both of you 🙂

      • Hope you’re not still munching on those mince pies, jelly trifles, chocolate buttons, turkey treats and all those Icywolfy forest delights? of course you are and don’t think that I haven’t noticed the lack of effort on my lid either, it needs lots of hard worrk in the New Year so get ready with your duster… lol Have a fangtasticwickedawesome New Years Eve and Day and of course the whole of 2011 our most excellent great friend… Don’t be getting sloshed now… lol Okay then, maybe just one or two glasses of the Red then… lol

        Androgoth XXx

      • Happy New Year to you too my great friend of the Gothic Realm! I trust you consumed far too many glasses of the Red and are now thoroughly ghoulishly sloshed after a wicked and ghoulishly naughty and over-indulgent New Year? lol 😉 You will both be pleased to know that in between my own over-indulgence of the seasonal Icewolfie forest delights I made it my New Years Resolution to polish your coffin lids to perfection on a daily basis:)However…unfortunately for both of you two, O great cloaked one of the Gothic Realm…lol…resolutions were made to be broken!! Mostly immediately! On the other paw…there was one that I promise not to break as I know how very much you enjoy them…dots……..!! Lots of them will appear on a regular basis in my comments to you just as like them to be!! HoooOOOOWWWLLLLoooool….!!! 🙂

      • Yes MORE DOTS if you please… Not sure
        what you’re getting up to but I bet it’s very
        wicked and highly naughty whatever it is? lol

        Androgoth XXx

      • …………………………………………………… 😉 🙂 …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… !!

        Wicked goings on? lol…………….Highly naughty??!!…………………………………………………………………………….err………price comparising for telescope upgrade……………d-loading updates for Apple Quicktime and i-tunes…………………………….. ;)…………………….. wondering how many blogs I haven’t visited tonight!………..that would be all that might have presented themselves! ……………………………….. nevermind………………….. one of those nights where Icewolfie has been going dotty…………………lol……………..better luck tomorrow………………. didn’t see anything from you on quick race through the sub’s list so W/P had better not be keeping secrets from Icewolfie again or else!!………….I will be back to check tomorrow………………………..look out for tightly strung washing lines on your flights tonight :)…….especially if you’re in the “niff” again!!!!!………………………………………………… 😉

  9. I will try it out for the foto album wolfy thats for me the most important on my project WP
    i know that the new Year will bring new thingsim in poritiv mode now no worries .

    • Such a positive outlook for 2011 is sure to bring you all the success you need to achieve your aim. And if you have any problems with the foto album let me know and I will try to help if I can…but I have every confidence in you! I think you will be fine! 🙂

  10. I’ve just been browsing the many excellent pictures that you have added to accompany this wicked addition to your blogging, let’s hope that on your next outing there will be an equal amount of stunning graphics to enhance the very good and interesting themes that you add here for all to enjoy… Be well Icywolfy of the Icy Realm…

    Yes now grab a duster and get on with it… lol

    Androgoth XXx

    • Good to see you have made yourself comfortable on that specially designed Ice Coffin I left out for you! Great to see you here in the Icy Realm…taken me a while to get here myself tonight 🙂

      A very generous comment you have flown in with tucked neatly under the Vampy cloak 😉 I did have one to post…getting a bit late to bother now tho…it’s been sitting on file long enough gathering zombie webs! Don’t know it’ll grab too much interest “locally” but I like the pics!! Also there’s been a lot of “global” viewing of similar subject matter according to the stat’s so will give it a go 🙂 I will enjoy looking at the pics if nothing else!! lol 🙂

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