Lunar eclipse, comet starring in night sky show this weekend

Look up at the sky tonight, and you'll see three phenomena happening at the same time: a comet, Snow Moon, and lunar eclipse will show up starting tonight until tomorrow morning.

"Penumbral eclipses can be hard to see from Earth because the moon is merely passing through the Earth's penumbral shadow, causing only subtle shading on the moon's surface", wrote Space.com.

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

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 events will all coincide, a rare occurrence, tonight, Friday February 10.

A few hours after the eclipse, Comet 45P, which has been visible after sunset for the past two months through binoculars and telescopes, makes its closest approach to Earth, when it will be "only" 7.4 million miles away, NASA said.

According to The Washington Post, the comet will make its closest approach to the planet at 10:30 p.m. ET, however, it will not be visible to the naked eye. The comet will pass through Corona Borealis, Bootes, Canes Venatici and Ursa Major, several constellations that you can see in the night sky in most clear nights.

A penumbral lunar eclipse at moonrise will be followed by an opportunity to view a small comet in the early morning hours Saturday. EarthSky reports that when the Moon moves through the outer part of the Earth's shadow, which is known as the Penumbra, the Penumbral Eclipse occurs.

The partial lunar eclipse will occur between 5:32 p.m. and 9:55 p.m.

The Snow Moon is simply the name of February's full moon, but the view from many areas will be a bit different.

After mid-eclipse, the graying begins to fade to the moon's normal brightness. If you are looking to see the New Year Comet fly by along with the full "snow" moon and the penumbral lunar eclipse, you will need to work at it and hope you're somewhere that it is possible. It can be seen every five and quarter years.

  • Tracy Ferguson