Look up tonight! Stargazing trifecta will grace the skies

Courtesy photo from NASA


There is a stargazing trifecta coming our way this evening, I just hope that we can see it here in Central Pennsylvania.

It will not only include a rare comet, but also lunar eclipse and full “Snow” moon. The eclipse is the penumbral eclipse of the moon, and it’s one of three types of lunar eclipses: total, partial and penumbral.

You won’t see a dark bite taken out of the moon tonight like you would in a partial eclipse, but you may notice a shading on the moon’s face.

Like any lunar eclipse, it includes a full moon. In February that full moon is nicknamed the, “Snow” moon because this is the month with the highest average rates of snowfall.

The exact moment of the penumbral eclipse is 7:43 p.m. and it’s expected to last for over four hours.

Also tonight, a rare comet known as, “45P” will make its closest possible approach to Earth. But that still means it will be 7.4 million miles away!

The comet has been nicknamed the, “New Year” comet because it began its journey across the northern hemisphere at the end of last year.

While we do expect some cloud cover in Central PA tonight, grab your binoculars if you want to try to catch a glimpse. According to NASA the comet might be visible over the western horizon just after sunset (5:37 p.m.) and even the naked eye may be able to see a blue-green “head” and tail if our skies clear out enough by this evening.

For the best chance to take in the sights tonight, experts recommend finding a dark location such as a hill or a treeless farm.

According to NASA, stargazers will have to wait until 2022 for a chance to see comet “45P” again.

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