Sci-tech

Full moon, eclipse, and comet all in one night

Full moon, eclipse, and comet all in one night

As an added benefit, this weekend's moon will be a full "snow moon", coined as such by the Farmer's Almanac in reference to the typically snowy month of February.

Tonight, the moon will pass through the Earth's penumbra - the outer region of the Earth's shadow - which will cast a gray shadow over the surface of the moon.

The Earth's shadow will fall on the moon during the eclipse as the the Earth, sun and moon line in space.

Well, that makes sense since the moon will be in Earth's shadow and the light comes from the same place. Three magnificent celestial events will happen from the evening of February 10 to the morning of February 11.

The comet will come back after five years to pass the Earth in 2022.

For this to all be visible though we need clear skies and whilst there is a fair bit of cloud forecast there will be some good clear spells around, particularly at midnight; so wrap up warm and take a chance to see stars!

An amateur astronomer's delight, a triple play in the skies, is scheduled to occur Friday evening into Saturday morning.

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So what is a Snow Moon?

The exact moment of the penumbral eclipse is 7:43 p.m. ET (6:43 p.m. CT, 5:43 p.m. MT and 4:43 p.m. PT), NASA said.

Folks in the northeastern USA will probably agree with the Farmer's Almanac listing of the February full moon as the "snow moon".

You can use binoculars or a telescope to view the comet just before dawn on Saturday.

While penumbral eclipses can be hard to see and don't look almost as dramatic as a total lunar eclipse, in which the moon passes through the darkest, central part of Earth's shadow, Friday's penumbral eclipse will be darker and more noticeable than most lunar eclipses of its kind. Eastern Time. However, the greenish comet will be visible only by binoculars and telescope.

Unfortunately for sky gazers, the Boston area can expect another 1-2 inches of snow starting around 8 p.m., according to the National Weather Service.

Usually a night with a comet or a lunar eclipse is reason enough to peel yourself away from the couch for a bit to gaze at the stars, but tonight is better still.


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