PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Stargazers are in for a special treat Friday as a lunar eclipse, “snow moon,” and comet will all occur on the same day.
The full “snow moon” will kick things off on Friday evening.
The Old Farmer’s almanac says the full moon was named the “snow moon” because of the heavy snow that typically arrives in February.
The moon is supposed to be at its fullest around 7:33 p.m. Friday.
By that time, a lunar eclipse will be underway.
The lunar eclipse, also called a penumbral lunar eclipse, happens when the earth, sun, and moon align in the middle. The rare alignment leaves Earth’s shadow casting across the moon.
Sky and Telescope says the viewers in the Northeast will be able to see the whole eclipse from start to finish. (Depending on cloud cover of course.)
Viewers will really be able to notice the eclipse starting around 7:44 p.m. EST and the eclipse will end at 9:55 p.m. Experts say the eclipse will be slightly dimming.
Stargazers may want to then take a quick nap, and be up in time to possibly catch a comet.
Comet 45P, also known as the New Year comet, will pass about eight-million miles from earth and be most visible early Saturday morning, around 4 a.m.
Sky & Telescope says the full moon may make seeing the comet tricky but they have some advice for stargazers.
Look to the east starting around 3 a.m. Saturday morning, and watch for a bright blue-green “head” with a tail.
Binoculars or a telescope could be helpful and the comet could be visible for a few days.