The full moon is something that punctuates our lives and imposes a natural rhythm. This full moon also marks the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice and is a total lunar eclipse. This fine day will be here on December 21st.
In Oregon this lunar eclipse is said to be a TOTAL lunar eclipse so you should see the shadow of the Earth pass over and darken the entire moon. The Earth will be between the sun and the moon so it will cast it's shadow in such a way that we can see it. Of note: "It will be the first total lunar eclipse to occur on the day of the Winter Solstice since 1638, and only the second in the Common Era". The following two lunar eclipses are also total, on June 15, 2011 and December 10, 2011, but be ready on the night of the 20th.
"If you are thinking about solar, the shortest day is a great day to photograph where the shadows hit on your house, roof and yard. "
Shortest day It only gets lighter from here on out...
If you are planning on creating or installing solar panels to heat air, water or generate electricity, the shortest day is a great day to study where the sun hits and where it does not. On the longest day you can study the shadows for adding shade to cool your house, but on this shortest day you will get to see just how low the sun is, and what effect that has on your solar gain. That is providing the sun comes out. You can take some photos or make some markings to help your placement of the panels. This will be the shortest, thus, darkest day of the year and the sun will be the lowest in the sky.
Changing direction with the tilt of the earth.
The sun will start it's journey the other direction again, so each day you might notice it rise and set in a new location going the other direction than it has for last half of the year. Where the sun hits as it rises and sets is also an interesting thing to note and mark down or photograph, just as those that came before you have noted for thousands of years.
On the 20th of December at midnight, you will only have 16 minutes and 56 seconds to wait, watch and see the GREATEST amount of the shadow of the Earth is passing over the moon.
1Full Moon is at 8:13 U.T.
2Total Eclipse is at 8:16 U.T. (12:16:56 AM PST) on the 21st or just 16 minutes 56 seconds after midnight of the 20th...
3Winter Solstice is at 23:38 U.T.
4Notice the shadows.
5Watch for the sun to rise and set at the furthest point in one direction for the whole year.
7Learn More on the Wikipedia about Coordinated Universal Time.
8Learn More on the Wikipedia about the December 2010 lunar eclipse.
9Learn More on MR Eclipse.