The Feb. 2008 lunar eclipse as taken by 11Alive viewer Dave DeVito of Carrollton.
ATLANTA -- The first total lunar eclipse in nearly three years will help usher in the Winter Solstice during the early hours of Tuesday.
The eclipse, which is being called the Christmas Lunar Eclipse by some scientists, will be visible over all of North America, beginning locally at 12:27 a.m. Tuesday. The last total lunar eclipse -- which was also visible from Atlanta -- was on the evening of February 20, 2008.
The "total phase" -- which is the most visible portion of the eclipse -- will be visible from 2:40 a.m. to 3:53 a.m. The end of the eclipse will be at 6:06 a.m.
Unlike a solar eclipse, it is safe to look at a lunar eclipse -- which is when the moon passes through the earth's shadow as cast by the sun. During the total phase, the moon appears to have a dark reddish cast.
The Winter Solstice, which marks the official beginning of Winter, is Monday night at 6:38 p.m. Eastern Time.