An Eclipsed Full Snow Moon And A Comet

 

Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova, new years comet, delaware, sussex county, lewes, millsboro, star gazing,
Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova in 2011 photo courtesy of NASA

We are going to get a treat Friday night.  The full snow moon is February’s moon, some tribes called it the full hunger moon because the winter weather made for harsh hunting conditions.  You wouldn’t be able to tell that this week since it is going to hit the high sixties today.   So much for the harshest month for snow, which  February traditionally is, but it isn’t over yet, and sometimes we see some serious now in March.  The full snow moon is also going to be in a penumbral lunar eclipse.  This occurs when the moon moves through the earth’s outer shadow known as the penumbra.  Not a full lunar eclipse, but it will be noticeable to seasoned stargazers.  Most of North America will be able to see this event, and Delaware is just on the edge of the viewing area.  The penumbral eclipse will happen at exactly 7:43 p.m. ET, 6:43 p.m. CT, 5:43 p.m. MT, and 4:43 p.m. PT … according to NASA.

 

Comet 45P, Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková, stargazing, winter comet, periodic comet, delaware, sussex county
Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková is in the lower part of this picture captured while photographing the full moon in January. photo by astro-photographer 佐藤常文 @w_coast
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Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková  will barely be visible on Friday night when it is closest to the earth.  It has been seen for weeks with binoculars and telescopes.  It will only be seven million miles away on Friday.  You will be able to look for it not long after the penumbral eclipse, and can be seen all night.  For a good reference location, look to the east around 3 a.m. Saturday morning (Friday night), in the constellation Hercules, it will be barely visible to the naked eye.  Look for a bright blue-green head with a tail. Comet 45p will be visible with binoculars and telescopes until the end of February.  It will return in 2022, we see it every five years, it has been observed since December 15th, 2016.  “45P/Honda–Mrkos–Pajdušáková is a short-period comet discovered by Minoru Honda December 3, 1948. It is named after Minoru Honda, Antonín Mrkos, and Ľudmila Pajdušáková “

Fish On!

Rich King

 

 

 

 

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