It was in many ways quite the Christmas gift from the universe but sadly most of us were fast asleep and missed the chance to see the only total lunar eclipse of the year. Fortunately for those of us who value sleep, others don't. Making the timing extra special for this celestial event was the fact that it was also the Winter Solstice - when the Earth's tilt is farthest away from the sun, a.k.a. the shortest day and longest night of the year.