Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Celestial Light Show

A total lunar eclipse and the winter solstice collided head-on early this morning for the first time since 1638.

It's a celestial light show.

The winter solstice is the shortest day of the year. But if you are watching the sun's time closely, you will notice that the winter solstice is neither the day with the latest sunrise (that's two weeks later) nor the day with the earliest sunset (that was two weeks ago).

It has to do with the length of the solar day, the path of the Earth around the Sun, and the Earth's rotation. The January issue of Wired magazine has the full scoop for those who want to know the science.

A total lunar eclipse will be visible to most of North America (weather permitting) on the shortest day of the year.
For the best view of the eclipse, look skyward at 3:17 AM EST, and you will see the eclipse in its deepest shadow, casting a red hue on the full moon.

I'm not sure if this is "the glory of the Lord" that shone around the shepherds in Luke 2, or the "star of the east" in Matthew 2, but it surely is a vivid reminder of the miracle of Christmas.

God uses the natural order He created in exceptional ways to achieve His redemptive purposes.

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