Early Christmas Treat: 2010’s Only Total Lunar Eclipse

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(credit: Paul Kane/Getty Images)

(credit: Paul Kane/Getty Images)

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Just in time for Christmas.

The year’s only total lunar eclipse will occur Monday night or early Tuesday depending on where you live.

North and Central America and a tiny sliver of South America will have the best view. Weather permitting, sky gazers in those regions should be able to view the entire eclipse, expected to last 3 1/2 hours.

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The moon is normally illuminated by the sun. During a total lunar eclipse, the full moon passes through the shadow created by the Earth blocking the sun’s light.

Total eclipse begins at 11:41 p.m. Monday. The totality phase — when the moon is entirely inside Earth’s shadow — will last a little over an hour.

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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