Watch the night sky on Friday for the full moon. The full moon of February is also called the Snow Moon. Imagine the moon over a snow-covered landscape, the moonlight almost as bright as daylight.
Although the Chicago area has had very little snow this winter compared to recent winters past, February is usually when there is the most snow in the US. Now, the Northeast is getting a real blizzard!
Not only will there be a full moon on Friday, moon viewers will be treated to a penumbral eclipse.
Unlike a total eclipse or a partial eclipse, a penumbral eclipse is very subtle. It is a shadow across the face of the moon.
This diagram illustrates the alignment of sun, earth and moon that occurs during a lunar eclipse.
For a total eclipse, the Earth's inner shadow, the umbra, completely obscures the moon during totality.
During a penumbral eclipse, only the outer shadow of the earth, the penumbra, falls across the face of the moon.
Comet 45P--also known as Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková will be making its closest approach to Earth on February 11. Comet 45P is barely visible, even with binoculars, and it will be washed out by the bright moon. This is a challenge even for experienced photographers, but there are many outstanding images online. Here are some at Earthsky.
SLOOH will be live streaming the full moon and penumbral eclipse on Friday starting at 5:30 pm. EST. There will also be a discussion of Comet 45P. You can watch along here.