Those who like to watch the skies are in for a trio of treats this weekend. It will start with a penumbral eclipse and be followed by a snow moon Friday. Early Saturday, a comet will be visible in the sky, according to USA Today.
A penumbral eclipse isn’t as noticeable as a total lunar eclipse. It occurs when the moon moves through the outer part of the Earth’s shadow, which is known as the penumbra. The Earth’s outer shadow blocks part of the sun’s rays from reaching the moon and makes it appear slightly darker than usual. According to NASA, the penumbral eclipse will happen at 6:43 p.m. Friday.
A full moon in February is called a “snow” moon. The moon will be full Friday night. The Farmers’ Almanac said full moon names were coined by Native Americans living in the northern and eastern parts of the United States. They went with “snow” for February’s name because of all of the snow that usually falls in the month.
The final thing to watch for will be a comet. Comet 45P will make its closest approach to Earth when it will be 7.4 million miles away, according to NASA. The comet will be visible around 2 a.m. Saturday. NASA said it would best be seen using binoculars or a telescope. It will be visible in the eastern sky in the Hercules constellation. It should have a bright blue-green head with a tail. NASA said the comet will be visible until the end of the month. It is scheduled to return in 2022.