Update: We hope you saw a great lunar eclipse! Have a look here for our favorite Hawaiian lunar eclipse footage of the December 10 2011 total lunar eclipse.
Update 2: Don’t miss any of the 2012 astronomical fireworks in the Hawaiian sky and bookmark our Hawaii 2012 Astronomy calendar!
The total lunar eclipse of December 10th 2011 will be visible from Hawaii during the early morning hours, as the moon sets in the western sky. The eclipse duration is 51 minutes, with the moment of greatest eclipse at 04:31 Hawaiian time, and is visible longer as a partial lunar eclipse between 02:46 and 06:18.
In this article you can find the best place to watch the 2011 lunar eclipse and a video predicting what the eclipse looks like from Hawaii.
For interesting background information on lunar eclipses have a look at our Lunar Eclipse 101. There you find out why a lunar eclipse happens, why an eclipsed moon has the same color as a sunset, and that the moon becomes red during an eclipse for the same reason that the sky is blue during the day.
Video: 2011 lunar eclipse from Hawaii
If you cannot wait to see the eclipse you are in luck! We have made a video predicting what the December 2011 lunar eclipse will look like from Hawaii. In the video we explain what happens during the eclipse, and give some cool lunar eclipse facts and trivia.
This video was made using Stellarium and is accompanied by “Moonlight” by Van Morrison.
Where to watch the December 2011 lunar eclipse on Hawaii
The December 10th 2011 total lunar eclipse will just be visible from Hawaii. On the night of December 9 – December 10 the moon sets in the west at 07:06 Hawaii Time. This means that although the total eclipse will be completely visible, the moon will already be low on the Western sky.
Because an eclipsed moon is still very bright, you don’t have to find a dark place to see a lunar eclipse. You can see the eclipse from any city center, as long as there are no buildings (or a volcano!) between you and the moon. This means that the best place to watch the lunar eclipse from Hawaii is any place on the Hawaiian Islands where the western sky (and horizon) are clearly visible.
Our top pick for the Big Island are the western slopes of the Hualalai Volcano or one of the many stunning beaches on the west coast. If you don’t feel like a very early excursion, you can also perfectly watch is from your roof, porch or window. Just make sure to set your alarm clock at 04:00 in the morning (and to get out of bed!).
How to watch/photograph the Lunar Eclipse
You can watch a lunar eclipse without any special equipment. However, bring binoculars if you have a pair. You can see the colors of the eclipse more vividly with binoculars, and on a clear night you will even see craters and their shadows on the moon.
If you go out to watch the lunar eclipse, be sure to pack warm clothes and something comfortable to sit/lie down on. Either a picnic blanket and a pillow or a reclining chair work great.
It can be fun (and get you some great pictures) to photograph the lunar eclipse. You can do this with any (digital) camera, but for the best results use a camera with large zoom and a tripod. Have a look here for a more extensive guide to lunar eclipse photography.
More in-depth lunar eclipse information at the NASA eclipse site: http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/OH/OH2011.html
Stellarium planetarium software used for the video: http://www.stellarium.org/