Full moon, comet starring in night sky show this weekend

February 8, 2017 by Marcia Dunn
This is a composite image of the lunar nearside taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter in June 2009, note the presence of dark areas of maria on this side of the moon. Credit: NASA

A full moon and comet share double billing in a special night sky show this weekend.

A lunar eclipse starts everything off Friday night. The moon will pass into Earth's penumbra, or outer shadow. The moon won't be blacked out like in a full eclipse. Only part of the will be shaded, but it should be easily visible from much of the world.

Comet 45P, meanwhile, will zoom past Earth early Saturday. It will be a close encounter as these things go, passing within some 7 million miles.

The comet will be visible in the constellation Hercules. Binoculars and telescopes will help in the search.

Stargazers have been tracking Comet 45P for the past couple months. The ice ball comes around every five years.

Explore further: See a flirtatious lunar eclipse this Friday night

Related Stories

See a flirtatious lunar eclipse this Friday night

February 6, 2017

Not many people get excited about a penumbral eclipse, but when it's a deep one and the only lunar eclipse visible in North America this year, it's worth a closer look. What's more, this Friday's eclipse happens during convenient, ...

Partial lunar eclipse visible in western skies

June 27, 2010

(AP) -- Skygazers got a treat Saturday when a portion of the moon crossed into the Earth's shadow during a partial lunar eclipse visible in the western United States and Canada, the Pacific and eastern Asia.

Brief moon eclipse coming April 4

April 1, 2015

A brief total eclipse of the Moon may be visible on April 4 to skywatchers in western North America, Australia and East Asia, astronomers say.

SDO witnesses a double eclipse (w/ video)

September 2, 2016

Early in the morning of Sept. 1, 2016, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, caught both Earth and the moon crossing in front of the sun. SDO keeps a constant eye on the sun, but during SDO's semiannual eclipse seasons, ...

Recommended for you

Three 'super-Earths' orbiting a cool dwarf star discovered

January 23, 2018

Using NASA's prolonged Kepler mission, known as K2, astronomers have found three new "super-Earth" exoplanets. The newly detected alien worlds orbit the cool dwarf star designated LP415-17. The finding is reported January ...

Dust storms linked to gas escape from Martian atmosphere

January 23, 2018

Some Mars experts are eager and optimistic for a dust storm this year to grow so grand it darkens skies around the entire Red Planet. This type of phenomenon in the environment of modern Mars could be examined as never before ...

Scientist proposes new definition of a planet

January 23, 2018

Pluto hogs the spotlight in the continuing scientific debate over what is and what is not a planet, but a less conspicuous argument rages on about the planetary status of massive objects outside our solar system. The dispute ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.