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Winter Solstice, Lunar Eclipse Overlap First Time in 456 Years

For the first time in 456 years, the Winter Solstice this year (December 21, 2010) will coincide with a lunar eclipse (very early in the morning).

Historically, the winter solstice has played an important part in different cultural traditions. It is often seen as a time of renewal and rebirth, because being the darkest day of the year, it is a transition to a time of more light.

Throughout human history, lunar eclipses have gotten a great deal of attention. They are known to be powerful, emotional events that can bring everyday people to tears. And in some traditions, lunar eclipses have given reason for (sometimes drunken) festivity.

According to NASA, the last time the there was a lunar eclipse on the winter solstice was 1554.

The lunar eclipse will begin a few minutes after midnight Eastern Time on Tuesday, with the part people will want to observe occurring between 1:30 a.m. ET and 5:30 a.m.

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