There is a total lunar eclipse coming up on Saturday, December 10th, 2011. This eclipse is best for viewers in Australia and east Asia. The eclipse will not be visible at all for viewers in west Africa and South America.
Here in Utah (and the intermountain west) we may get a brief glimpse of the beginning of the eclipse in the early morning hours. It really depends on where you live and your view of the western horizon.
The umbral phase of the eclipse begins about 5:45 am, MST; with totality beginning about 7:06 am, MST. Unfortunately, moonset is about 7:45 am, MST on a flat horizon. For the Salt Lake valley, with the Oquirrh Mountains to the west, we will miss totality, but may get a glimpse of the early stages of the eclipse.
A total lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes through the shadow cast by the Earth out into space. This means that we must be at Full Moon, and the Moon must be in line with the Sun and Earth at that time.
There are no total lunar eclipses for 2012. However, we are in for two rare events next year. There is an annular solar eclipse for observers in the western US and Canada on May 20th, 2012. Even more exciting is the coming transit of Venus on June 5th/6th (depending on where you live). More on these event as we get into 2012.