Friday February 10 – The kids might be a little crazy today, so good luck below parents and teachers. Today is a full moon, known as the Snow Moon in February. Don’t laugh, there is plenty of snow even if you keep missing it. But this moon will be passing in a location that is through part of Earth’s shadow called the penumbra. This will not be the deep rusty red color with a total lunar eclipse, but the entire moon will be passing through this region of less light just as it will be rising this evening. Later tonight the sky show continues with the closes approach of Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusáková (referred to as the comet from here on out). We have a chance to see both, if the weather cooperates. There will be partly cloudy skies, as shown in the cloud simulation below. A video broadcast is available and shown at the bottom of this post. If the moon were 27 miles closer, it would be in the umbra and display the total eclipse. So like the recent snow storm, we just miss it the main show.
The moon will rise in Baltimore at 5:31 PM. It will be low in the horizon for a half hour or so, but don’t worry. Here are the key points:
What you will see: The bright moon will appear to have a dark and blurry side. This will be first seen on the left side. By mid eclipse the top half will look noticeably dimmer than the bottom half.
6:14 PM Penumbra First Visible
7:44 PM Mid Eclipse
9:14 PM Penumbra Last Visible
9: 55 PM Moon Departs Penumbra
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At 10:30 PM, the closest approach of ‘the comet’ to Earth will occur. At a mere 7.4 million miles away, you can see this wil binoculars or a small telescope. Sadly, not the naked eye. But I imagine a strong lens on a good camera will capture the image.
It will be located in the Eastern sky in the constellation Hercules and look blue-green.