Friday Night Special--Full Moon, Eclipse and Comet 45P!

Friday Night Special--Full Moon, Eclipse and Comet 45P!

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.

eclipse

Image--NASA

 

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.

Happy skywatching!

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  • I'm bein' followed by a Moon Shadow, Moon Shadow, Moon Shadow.

    Things are looking up in your post. Good work.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Oh that's such a lovely song, AW--Peace Train, too...

  • On the language front (maybe we should call Margaret Serious) I found it curious that meteorologist Phil Swartz was sent to the Adler Planetarium to report on the meteor.

    D. Ivory said to look for the 2 things, so I guess I should do that now.

  • In reply to jack:

    Interesting point, Jack!--The word meteorologist does come from the Greek word for meteor. It means "any atmospheric phenomenon" (according to etymology.com) which could include rain and meteor showers.

    But there's a science connection, anyway... Weather and astronomy are part of the natural world...it makes sense to me...

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