Triple delight in store for sky-watchers this Friday night
Feb 10 2017 by Bridget Leonard
Not as spectacular - or noticeable - as a totallunar eclipse, this rather subtle phenomenon occurs when the moon moves through the outer part of Earth's shadow (known as the penumbra), according to EarthSky.org.
A penumbral lunar eclipse will make Friday night's full moon appear dimmer than normal in what will be the last penumbral lunar eclipse of the decade. The moon will spend more than four hours drifting through the Earth's external shadow which will appear darker than any typical night.
After mid-eclipse, the graying begins to fade to the moon's normal brightness.
Traditionally, penumbral lunar eclipses aren't quite as spectacular as a standard lunar eclipse and are often more hard to see, but hopes are high for tonight's one, when the moon will appear nearly entirely submerged in shade.
If you'll be up late Friday night or up early Saturday morning before dawn, you'll also have the chance to see Comet 45P.
While that's 20 times the distance to the moon, the comet's approach is close by celestial standards.
The Met Office says viewers will probably need binoculars or a telescope to view it.
WHEN: Friday, Feb. 10 from 6:15-9 p.m.
The lunar eclipse will be tough to spot on the West Coast - and the inclement weather is not the only reason why.
Astronomers across the island of Ireland are in for a treat later as a lunar eclipse graces the sky.
And of course, in between the eclipse and the comet, look up and enjoy the full moon.
The green comet, which visits our neck of the solar system every five years, will whiz within 7.7 million miles of Earth at a speedy clip of about 14.2 miles per second.
Then 10 minutes after that we'll have a Penumbral Lunar Eclipse. It'll be in the constellation Hercules but don't confuse comets with "falling stars" or meteors.
"We will be able to see the lunar eclipse". The moon will enter the shadow at about 5:30 p.m. (ET), with the biggest impact seen at 7:45 p.m., ET, according to the Farmer's Almanac. Throughout the world, there will be different times for the events to be visible. The action will unfold early Saturday in Europe, Africa and western Asia.
"It was sporting quite a long tail before reaching perihelion (closest to the Sun) on New Year's Eve".