February 7, 2017

Here comes the... Moon, Eclipse, and Comet all in one day!

Mark your calendar for February 10th because a full Snow Moon, lunar eclipse, and passing comet will all be visible from Earth on the evening of Friday, February 10th.

Here's what you will be looking at:

Snow Moon
Snow Moon is the name given to February's full moon, since the heaviest snow often falls during this month. It is also known as the Hunger Moon, as traditionally it was difficult for hunters to find food at this time. The moon is due to rise at 5:18 p.m. (EST) on Friday before it sets 6:33 a.m. (EST), which means there's plenty of time to look up and see this spectacle.

Lunar eclipse
The first of two lunar eclipses will be visible from Europe, most of Asia, Africa and most of North America on Friday night. It is known as a penumbral eclipse as the full moon will pass into the Earth's faint penumbral shadow.

According to Sky and Telescope, the outer part of Earth's penumbra is so pale that you can't detect it, so viewers won't see anything happening until the Moon's edge has slid at least halfway in. This is expected to happen about 90 minutes before mid-eclipse, at 7:44 p.m. (EST) on February 10th, before it ends at 9:55 p.m.

New Year Comet
The New Year comet began its journey across northern hemisphere skies at the end of last year, but it's set to reach its closest point to Earth in the early hours of February 11th.
Named after the astronomers who discovered it in 1948, 45P/Honda – Mrkos – Pajdušáková is a mass of rock, dust, water and ice that should be visible to the naked eye as a small, fuzzy ball just before sunrise.

This periodic comet can be seen from Earth every five and a quarter years, and according to the British Astronomical Association, it "finally rises to a respectable altitude in the morning sky by early February" as it moves north in this month. It's recommended that a telescope is used for the best chance of seeing its blue-green glow.

So, be sure to pay attention this Friday, February 10th, somethings got to give.

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Thanks For Being!

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