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Moon Earth Space Science

A Guide To Friday's Comet-Eclipse-Full-Moon Triple Feature ( 28

SonicSpike quotes a report from CNET: Even if you aren't a space nerd whose idea of a good time is craning your neck to stare into the vast nothingness of space on a frigid evening, this Friday the heavens will put on a show worth heading outdoors for. A penumbral lunar eclipse, a full "snow moon" and a comet will be spicing up the night sky February 10 in a rare convergence of such celestial happenings. We'll start with our nearest neighbor. February brings the full moon known as the "snow moon" because this month in North America tends to see a lot of the white fluffy stuff. This snow moon will be special though because, well... we'll all get in its way in a sense when the penumbral lunar eclipse takes place Friday. The eclipse will be at least partly visible from most but not all places on Earth (sorry Australia and Japan). The moment of greatest eclipse is at 4:43 p.m. PT and the eclipse will then dissipate until it completes a little over two hours later, according to the U.S. Naval Observatory. Next up, Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova has actually been visible with binoculars and telescopes for several weeks already, but it will be at its closest approach to Earth on the morning of February 11 as it passes by at a distance of 7.4 million miles (11.9 million kilometers) or 30 times further away than the moon.
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A Guide To Friday's Comet-Eclipse-Full-Moon Triple Feature

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  • Nerds, huh! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Goaway ( 82658 )

    Those WEIRD NERDS, huh! They like to do things NOBODY IN THEIR RIGHT MIND would ever do, like look at stars! Crazy, am I right?

  • by ControlFreal ( 661231 ) <> on Friday February 10, 2017 @08:03AM (#53838135) Journal

    ... that is a given. The comet is a nice addition though.

  • Loks like a cut and paste error from here: []

    "Its closest point will come on February 11, 2017 at around 8 UTC, at which time the comet will be 0.08 AU (7.4 million miles, about 12 million km, or some 30 times the moon’s distance) from the Earth. Will you see it? Well are you an experienced observer or astrophotographer, used to finding faint objects in the sky? If not, probably not."

  • PT is actually called PST and it means Pacific Standard Time (UTC -8), so "Friday 4:43 p.m. PT" can be translated to "Saturday 01:47CET" or "Saturday 00:47UTC".

    Man, I hope this event is actually something worth seeing unlike other recent events. I'm so hyped!!!

    • - Full moon
    • - White moon (first moon of February when the moon reflects on earth more light than the rest of the year)
    • - Lunar eclipse (Earth between Sun and Moon)
  • by Ecuador ( 740021 ) on Friday February 10, 2017 @09:49AM (#53838577) Homepage

    Note that this is a penumbral eclipse, which basically means it is barely noticeable - the moon will very slightly reduce in brightness. For example, when we show full lunar eclipses in a time-lapse e.g. this nice one from 2015 [], we start from the end of the penumbral phase, when the umbra actually touches the disk, since the penumbral part is not discernible.

    As for the comet, it is past its "prime", as it is quickly moving away from the Sun. Unlike the rest of the celestial objects, for a comet the best time to observe them is when they are closest to the Sun, since that is when they are at their brightest and bear the longest "tail" - of course you also need a combination with some proximity to the earth, but for this comet the best time was a month ago when it was near the Sun at magnitude 6 (7 times brighter than currently). Yeah, once again /. is a bit late at reporting ;) If you still want to catch it though, do it fast, it is quickly fading.

  • A forecast of a comet, meteor shower or solar/lunar eclipse, is often just as good as a BBC weather forecast of unbroken cloud.

  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Friday February 10, 2017 @12:11PM (#53839771)

You are in a maze of little twisting passages, all different.