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A Comet, A Snow Moon, And An Eclipse Are All Coming This Weekend

It’s an astronomical trifecta

Image via Wikipedia

In case you don’t already have plans for Friday night, the universe has some options for you. Beginning as the moon rises on Friday evening, look to the sky to spot a penumbral eclipse. According to EarthSky, penumbral eclipses make up 35 percent of all lunar eclipses and are a result of the earth passing between the moon and the sun. Viewers in every state except for Hawaii will be able to see the penumbral eclipse. It won’t be as easy to spot as a full lunar eclipse, but the dark shadowing of the moon’s surface should make for a spooky winter sight.

As an added benefit, this weekend’s moon will be a full “snow moon,” coined as such by the Farmer’s Almanac in reference to the typically snowy month of February. Those facing heavy snowstorms in the Northeast will no doubt relate this weekend, while stargazers on the West Coast can live vicariously through this special wintry moon.

And if neither of those astronomical events get you excited for the weekend, the cosmos has one more trick up its sleeve: a freaking green comet. Look to the sky around 3 a.m. EST on Saturday morning (or midnight for West Coast observers) to see a rare green comet, affectionately named Comet 45P, fly by our humble planet. Now’s your chance since we won’t see Comet 45P again for another 5 years. To give you an idea of where to direct your gaze, the comet will pass through the Hercules constellation located in the northern part of the sky. To view a Hercules constellation map with more details than you’ll probably ever need, check out Constellation Guide’s rendering. And, as always, ditch the city and have some binoculars or a small telescope on hand for the ultimate viewing experience.

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