Tonight is the Winter Solstice - the longest night of the year. The sun set at 4:53 pm and won't rise until 7 minutes before 8am tomorrow. Since ancient times, people around the world have marked this day with celebrations and rituals. In Scotland, the night is known as Hogmanay (New Year Eves) and has been celebrated since the Vikings first invaded the British Isles and brought their customs with them. Today, Hogmanay is celebrated on January 1st but it's easy to understand why the Winter Solstice once marked the end of one year and start of the next as tonight we will have reached the end of our waning days and starting tomorrow, our long nights will begin to shorten and our days lengthen.
But this Winter Solstice is special - tonight we have a full moon to light our lengthy night. And that full moon will rise and become eclipsed by the shadow of the earth, with only the red end of the colour spectrum to light upon it until it turns a blood-bathed red. This lunar eclipse will begin at 1:33 am and continue until 3:53 am. So set your alarms, as a lunar eclipse hasn't coincided with a Winter Solstice in 456 years!