With the full moon high in the winter sky, the lunar eclipse will be visible from four continents, with the best views from North America and Central America if weather permits, scientists say.
Unlike a solar eclipse, eclipses of the moon can usually be observed anywhere in the hemisphere where the moon is above the horizon.
This particular lunar eclipse also may be seen in totality from northern and western Europe, some of northeast Asia, Hawaii and New Zealand, according to Space.com. In total, some 1.5 billion people may have a chance to see the full eclipse, the website reported.
Total lunar eclipses during winter in the northern hemisphere are fairly common, NASA says. However, a lunar eclipse falling precisely on the date of the solstice is quite rare.
Geoff Chester of the U.S. Naval Observatory inspected a list of eclipses going back 2000 years for NASA.
"Since Year 1, I can only find one previous instance of an eclipse matching the same calendar date as the solstice, and that is 1638 DEC 21," Chester said, according to NASA. "Fortunately we won't have to wait 372 years for the next one ... that will be on 2094 DEC 21."
If you only have time for a quick look, NASA recommends that you take a peek 3:17 a.m. ET. That's when the moon will be fully covered in an amber light.
For more information on how often the December full moon coincides with the solstice, see this explanation of Greenwich mean time and the resulting time zones.
And for a graphic slide show of the lunar eclipse, see the website www.shadowandsubstance.com.