'Snow Moon,' Lunar Eclipse And Comet Will Light Up Sky At Same Time This Friday

by Alexandra Svokos
Wikimedia Commons

Not one, but three major celestial events are going on in the sky this Friday night into Saturday morning.

We're going to get an awesome convergence of a "Snow Moon," a lunar eclipse and a comet passing all on the same night.

These three separate events are all their own fun moments separately, but of course it's even more fun that they're happening all at the same time.

The Snow Moon is the most common of these occurrences.

A "Snow Moon" simply describes the full moon of February. They call it this because -- you guessed it -- it's when big snowfalls tend to happen.

Then there's the lunar eclipse, which is also a decently regular occurrence depending on where you are in the world.

A lunar eclipse, to be clear, is not a solar eclipse, when the moon crosses in front of the sun. Instead, a lunar eclipse is when the earth gets right in front of the sun, so the sun's light can't reach the moon.

So the sun, the moon and Earth are all directly lined up. The moon is then covered in shadow, which makes it look an eerie red. It's really cool to see, and you should try to check it out on Friday night.

It should be viewable on Friday from Europe, Africa and most of Asia and North America. So basically everywhere except, like, Australia and Antarctica.

Plus, we're finally getting a comet this weekend.

This particular comet is the simply named (ha) Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková. It has all those names because it was discovered in 1948 by astronomers Minoru Honda, Antonín Mrkos and Ľudmila Pajdušáková.

The comet shows up every five and a quarter years, so we're lucky to be able to see it now.

This time around, it's called the "New Year comet" because it started moving across the skies at the end of 2016. You'll be able to see it mostly on Saturday.

So don't forget to look up this weekend!

Citations: Penumbral lunar eclipse, Snow Moon and New Year Comet to coincide in spectacular celestial display this month (Mirror)