Snow Moon, Lunar Eclipse, Comet Set to Appear Within Hours of Each Other

Snow Moon, Lunar Eclipse, Comet Set to Appear Within Hours of Each Other

Skygazers are in for a rare treat this weekend with a triple celestial show.

A full moon, a lunar eclipse and a comet will appear within hours of each other Friday night and early Saturday morning.

Friday night will kick off with February’s full moon, known as the “snow moon,” which is slated to rise at 5:18 p.m. ET and peak at 7:32 p.m. ET in the New York metro region. It will be the second full moon on the 2017 lunar calendar, following January’s “wolf moon.”

The snow moon will coincide with a minor lunar eclipse, known as a penumbral lunar eclipse. The moon will spend more than four hours Friday night gliding across Earth’s outer shadow, called the penumbra, making it the first lunar eclipse of 2017.

That special event is expected to start just after 5:30 p.m. ET on Friday. The moment of the greatest eclipse, when the moon passes closest to the axis of Earth’s shadow, will take place around 7:43 p.m. ET, according to NASA.

The penumbral lunar eclipse should be visible across much of the world. But the best regions to watch this event will be in Europe, Africa, the eastern side South America and North America’s east coast.

Meanwhile, a bright-green comet will reach its closest point to Earth in the early morning hours Saturday. Comet 45P began its journey across the sky late last year. Observers using binoculars or small telescopes can catch a glimpse of the comet’s closest approach before dawn in the eastern sky or just after sunset in the western sky, according to NASA.