February 10th, sky-watchers get to delight in a rare space trifecta with a full snow moon, a penumbral lunar eclipse, and a flyby of a comet. The moon will first enter Earth's shadow at 5:32 p.m. EST (2232 GMT), and its moonlight will slowly grow less visible for a little over 2 hours. This full moon is called the snow moon, which dates back to when the Moons were a way of tracking the seasons for Native Americans. About 10 minutes after the full moon is at it’s peak a penumbral lunar eclipse will be as well. Although a penumbral eclipse is usually hard to spot, this one will be darker and more noticeable than most lunar eclipses of its kind. 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 7.4 million miles away, according to NASA. Those in East have better viewing at around 3 a.m. Saturday morning, where it will be visible in the sky in the constellation Hercules. Watch for a bright blue-green "head" with a tail, making this evening a triple treat!
February 10th, sky-watchers get to delight in a rare space trifecta with a full snow moon, a penumbral lunar eclipse, and a flyby of a comet
Snow Moon, Penumbral Lunar Eclipe, Comet 45P
Snow moon or Full Snow moon is a traditional name for the full moon that occurs in February in North America. Usually this month is a time for snow and cold air temperatures, and this is the reason for the name snow moon. Storm moon, hunger moon, Little Famine moon, and Full Bony moon are other traditional names for this particular full moon.
A penumbral lunar eclipse takes place when the Moon moves through the faint, outer part of the Earth's shadow. This type of eclipse is often mistaken for a normal full Moon.
Comet 45P/Honda–Mrkos–Pajdušáková is a short-period comet discovered by Minoru Honda December 3, 1948. It is named after Minoru Honda, Antonín Mrkos, and Ľudmila Pajdušáková.