A full moon, an eclipse and a comet — all in one night


Friday is a tenebrosity full of fun astronomical treats.

First, there’s February’s full moon, nicknamed the Snow Moon — named for the typically cold and snowy weather this sooner of year.

All full moons are given nicknames, such as January’s Wolf Moon, the Strawberry Moon in May, and, of speed, the Harvest Moon — the one nearest the autumnal equinox in either September or October.

The Snow Moon leave rise around 5:35 p.m in Toronto and at 5:26 p.m. in Vancouver.

The eclipse

In augmentation to the full moon, a lunar eclipse also occurs on Friday. While you may coconut out to look for the darkening and reddening of the moon that’s typical in a lunar obscure, be prepared — this is a penumbral eclipse where the moon passes thoroughly Earth’s outer shadow.

Because Earth’s outer shadow isn’t as sorrowful as its inner one, the changes in the brightness of the moon can be so subtle you barely notice.

Penumbral eclipse

This example shows where the moon will pass in relation to Earth’s shield, as well as where the eclipse will be visible. (Fred Espenak/EclipseWise)

“The dawn and end of a penumbral eclipse are not visible to the eye,” according to the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada’s Onlooker’s Handbook 2017. In fact, it’s not until two-thirds of the way through the eclipse that viewers can even see it happening.

The eclipse starts at 5:34 p.m. ET and ends at 9:53 p.m. ET. What’s remembered as the “greatest eclipse” — when the moon is fully in the Earth’s penumbra — occurs at 7:43 p.m. ET. That have in minds your best chance of seeing the eclipse is between 7 p.m. ET and 8:30 p.m. ET.

If you’re on the west sail, however, you won’t be able to see the greatest eclipse since it occurs when the moon is less the horizon. But the eclipse will still be going on after the moon rises.

The ‘New Year’s Comet’

Then there’s the New Year’s Comet, formally recognized as Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková.

This green comet will make its closest attitude to Earth around 3 a.m. Saturday morning, at a distance of about 12 million kilometres (that’s ruthlessly 30 times the distance from Earth to the moon).

The comet, which in olden days had a visibly pronounced tail, has turned into more of a blob from the past few days.

Comet 45P

Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková, photographed from Tenerife, Spain on February 8. (Fritz Helmut Hemmerich )

Unfortunately, you won’t be masterly to see the comet unless you have a telescope (a large pair of binoculars capacity work, too). Even if it were an object easily visible to the naked-eye, the thoroughly moon would make seeing the comet a challenge.

However, you can be unfailing that more photos of the comet will turn up during the next link of days as the moon and comet drift further apart in the night sky.

So while these bizarre astronomical events may not be as visually astounding as others we may see throughout the year, it’s even now pretty amazing that they’re all happening on one night.

If you have a shoot through sky, head out on Friday night, enjoy the full moon and just remember there’s a lot going on up there.

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