Published: Sat, February 11, 2017
Culture | By Kelly Harrison

Comet, Snow Moon, And Eclipse Collide On Friday Night

Between Friday evening and Saturday morning, a full moon, lunar eclipse and comet will appear in the darkened sky over Colorado Springs.

While that full moon may be big, bright and handsome, it'll be covered in darkness early in the evening, but only temporarily.

A lunar eclipse can only happen at full moon, but more often than not the full moon swings above or below the Earth's shadow.

The penumbral eclipse occurs when the Earth passes in between the moon and sun, which causes a shadow to fall on the moon's surface.

While the dimming can be viewed with the naked eye, Bertels said viewers could see it more clearly with binoculars.

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

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Unfortunately, much of the U.S. East Coast is forecasted to be blanketed by clouds. The comet, named 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková (named after the Japanese and Eastern European astronomers who discovered it), will be around 7.4 million miles away, or about 30 times the distance of the moon. But it's not just any old full moon, it's called the "snow moon".

Friday's moon can also be called an eclipsed moon.

Friday night will bring not one but three different lunar events that could introduce a few good possibilities for night-sky photography.

A penumbral lunar eclipse is not as spectacular as a total lunar eclipse.

The next lunar eclipse will take place on August 7, it will be partially penumbral and will be only of scientific interest. Look for the blue-green orb with a bright tail passing through the constellation Hercules at 3:00 am ET 02/11/17.

Part 2: Comet 45P, visible after sunset over the last two months through both binoculars and telescopes makes its closest approach to Earth on February 11.

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