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This Friday night will come with a treat for space enthusiasts. It will host not one but three astronomic events. These will be a ‘snow moon’, a penumbral lunar eclipse, and the passing by of a comet.
The night sky holds many attractions for those with a passion in the area. At the same time, eclipses and comet shower are a source of delight all those that can watch them. Usually, such events come alone or in pairs.
But this Friday will be special. It will host three astronomic events. The full ‘snow moon’ being the first to appear.
This snow moon is a yearly occurrence. In North America, it is the name given to the first full moon to appear in February.
Its name is linked to the seasonal period. Most usually, February registers cold air temperatures. And it may also be ruled by snow. The full snow moon is also known as the Storm moon. Other variants include the Full Bony moon, hunger moon, or Little Famine moon.
On Friday, the fullest moon peak should come at around 7:33 p.m. EST. By this time, the lunar eclipse should have also started.
This lunar eclipse is also called a penumbral lunar eclipse. It takes place as the satellite passes through our planet’s penumbra. As the event takes place, it leads to a partial darkening of the surface of the moon. The most uncommon such event is the total penumbral eclipse.
Rare in itself, during such events, the moon can seem to have darker sides. Especially on the sides which are closer or in full view of the Earth.
The penumbral lunar eclipse also sees an alignment of the Earth, Sun, and Moon. These all align in the middle. This rare placement determines the Earth’s casting its shadow on the Moon.
This Friday, the eclipse should start being noticeable at about 7:44 p.m. EST. It will most likely end at about 9:55 p.m. EST.
The last event of the night will be taking place in the early morning hours. A comet, the so-called New Year one, will be crossing the night sky at about 4:00 a.m. EST.
The New Year comet is the popular name given to Comet 45P. This year, this will pass some 8 million miles away from our planet. It will be most noticeable in the early hours, on Saturday morning.
Comet 45P is a periodic comet. It is considered so because it has a predictable path. Before being known as the New Year Comet, it was also known as the blue one. Scientists noticed its bluish-green tail and head. This space body passes by our planet every 5 and a quarter years.
These three astronomic events will be mostly succeeding one another. However, one may also intervene during another. More exactly, the full moon may reduce the comet’s visibility.
Stargazers can find tips and tricks on better seeing the comet. For example, they can start looking for it at about 3:00 a.m. EST. At this hour on Saturday morning, they should be able to start detecting it.
They will have to look for a bright blue-green ‘head’. And do not forget its tail. A telescope or binoculars should help.
Image Source: Wikimedia