What to Know
- A February 'snow' moon, a penumbral lunar eclipse and a pass by Comet 45P will all occur Friday night into Saturday morning.
- A penumbral lunar eclipse is usually only visible to an expert eye, but a snow moon and comet should be noticeable even to casual viewers
- The weather is expected to be cloudy over Connecticut so while it's worth looking up, don't be disappointed if clouds block the view
Three celestial events will decorate the sky Friday night, as a full ‘snow’ moon, a lunar eclipse and a comet all appear in one night, according to NASA.
The bad news is that the NBC Connecticut meteorologists are forecasting a cloudy Friday night, so we may not see any of it in Connecticut.
A February full moon, traditionally called a snow moon for a month known as a time for snow and cold air, will brighten up the sky.
A penumbral lunar eclipse will occur Friday as the moon passes through the earth’s shadow. It won’t pass the darkest part of the shadow called the umbra, but it will cross through the fainter outer portion of the shadow, the penumbra. The maximum eclipse will come shortly before 7:45 p.m. Friday night.
Note that penumbral eclipses are not as dramatic as total eclipses and are generally only spotted by an expert eye.
If we’re lucky we may get a peek through the clouds at Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova as it makes its closest approach to earth this cycle. The comet has been visible from earth by telescope already this cycle, but it will come closest early Saturday morning, 7.4 million miles from earth. If the clouds are kind you may be able to see the comet with just binoculars, blazing with a blue-green head and a thin fan-shaped tail.
The will remain visible for a few more nights before continuing on its cycle. Comet 45P returns to our solar system every five or so years, according to NASA.