Hey to all you lucky Earth Science students :D (I wish I was still in Earth Science- sooooo much better than bio :P) Anyyyyyyways before I start to go off on a tangent here I just wanted to let everyone know that there is going to be something very special on the first day of winter, December 21, 2010- A TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE! A lunar eclipse is when the Earth's shadow passes across the full moon, blocking it out. Don't miss it! This is an incredible opportunity to see something VERY cool :D Only downside(s)- You'll have to get up in the middle of the night and bundle up like an Eskimo. :P While I understand why this would deter some people (some of us need our beauty sleep- and our extremities XD) you should really consider getting out for a little while. These don't come around for us here in the U.S. all that often.
Here are some photos of past lunar eclipses (the reddish color is due to the Earth's atmosphere bending some wavelengths of sunlight around itself and onto the Moon- also known as earthshine):
<-- composite photo of the progression of a lunar eclipse, which often takes several hours
<-- NOT a crescent Moon- this is a lunar eclipse in its early stages. While it does have the general shape of a crescent, notice how it is more than half lit. This is how you can tell that this is a lunar eclipse, not a waxing crescent moon. Also, if you look at the edge of where the dark part of the Moon meets the light part (in this case, it is due to the Earth's shadow, but when you are looking at a phase of the Moon that is not full or new, it is called the terminator), you will see a fuzziness in the shadow. This is because of the Earth's atmosphere letting some light through, like when you look through a piece of colored glass- some light gets through, but not all of it.