Sci-tech

Lunar eclipse, Comet 45P, and visible planets

Lunar eclipse, Comet 45P, and visible planets

A full moon in February is named a snow moon because in the United States, February is traditionally the snowiest time of year.

From Friday evening through Saturday morning, it will be possible to spot a penumbral lunar eclipse, a full "snow" moon, and a comet flyby.

While that full moon may be big, bright and attractive, it'll be covered in darkness early in the evening, but only temporarily.

But the eclipse on Friday is unusual as most of the moon's face will cross the Earth's shadow, making it appear much darker. The comet will get within 7.4 million miles of the planet as it makes its closest approach this weekend, according to Universe Today. The comet is passing relatively close to the earth, within 30 lunar distances, or 30 times the distance from the earth to the moon away. This is considered by many astronomers to be the "least interesting" type of eclipse.

A partial lunar eclipse occurs when the moon is full and passes within the earth's outer shadow, the penumbra.


You can see it using binoculars as it passes through the constellation Hercules. This one also happens to be called the Hunger Moon because the winter weather was often extreme and made hunting impossible, so people would struggle to find food and starve at this time of the year.

The moon will first enter Earth's shadow at 10.32pm this evening and its moonlight will slowly but surely grow dimmer for a little over two hours.

"We should have clear skies tomorrow night to view the eclipse, however, don't expect a huge difference in the brightness of the moon". The ice ball comes around every five years.

Binoculars or "small telescopes" can help skywatchers catch a glimpse of Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova, Space.com reports. The eclipse will officially end at 8:53 p.m.as the moon continues to rise.