A guide to Friday's comet eclipse full moon triple feature

Adjust Comment Print

Veuer's Nick Cardona has the details. This Friday, February 10, we're getting not one, not two, but three major astronomical occurrences: the Full Snow Moon, an eclipse, and a comet. You can see our main guide here: February Full Moon 2017: When to See the "Snow Moon" Eclipse During a total lunar eclipse, skywatchers can often see the moon turn an intense, blood-red color as it passes through the central shadow of the Earth.

According to Bruce McClure at EarthSky.com, the ideal spots to view this particular eclipse are in Europe, Africa, Greenland and Iceland and that the entire eclipse will last four hours and 20 minutes.

The exact moment of the penumbral eclipse is 7:43 p.m. ET (6:43 p.m. CT, 5:43 p.m. MT and 4:43 p.m. PT), NASA said. The snow moon, or full snow moon, is a traditional term given for the full moon that's seen in February in North America.

Some Native American tribes also used to call it the Hungry Moon because hunting was hard when there was heavy snow.

First, there will be the full moon known as the "snow moon".

"It'll be visible in the morning sky in the constellation Hercules", NASA said in a statement earlier this month. Tonight's supermoon - so called because it is the closest full moon to the Earth this year - is particularly rare as it coincides with a lunar eclipse, a combination that has not happened since 1982 and won?t happen again until 2033.

The Slooh Observatory says this will be the closest comet approach in 30 years.

While it won't be coming in for a landing, 45P/H-M-P will miss the planet by just 7.7 million miles or about 32 times the Earth-Moon distance.

This year, it has been dubbed the "New Year Comet" because it became visible in the skies of the northern hemisphere at the end of 2016 and was sighted on New Year's Eve. It's because during most eclipses that we're used to, the dramatic effects are seen when we pass through the umbra.

The comet is due to come closest to Earth on February 11, when it will be visible to the naked eye. Those anticipating for the event can expect an intense blue-green "head" with a tail.