Tomorrow, Friday February 10th 2017 is shaping up to be a special night for anyone who likes to take a break from reality and look up at the stars. There are four different features that will make Friday night and early Saturday morning special. There will be a partial lunar eclipse (the headliner), a full snow moon to accompany the eclipse, a comet passing by earth, and three planets will be visible.
- Penumbral lunar eclipse
- Given its name, penumbra means partial, so this will be a partial eclipse of the moon. However, even though it will only be partial, folks around the Gulf Coast should still be able to see a good chunk of the eclipse’ total time. The eclipse itself won’t be anything too spectacular, but for those of you who like to stargaze, it still will be neat to see the moon shaded differently than otherwise
- Granted there have been other Penumbral eclipses, this one is part of a specific cycle. This eclipse is part of the Saros cycle that dates back to around 971 A.D. An eclipse in this cycle roughly occurs every 6,500 days. The last time an eclipse happened on this cycle was back in 1999.
- The best time to look at the eclipse will be after moonrise, which is about 5:30 pm local time. The maximum of the eclipse will occur around 6:30 pm and the eclipse will end around 9 pm local time.
- Comet 45p passes by earth
- This will only be able to be seen through a telescope or binoculars. Comet 45p will pass within 7.5 million miles of earth. It’s a long way away, but if you can catch a glimpse it will be sure to be something cool. Look for this after sunset Friday until the early morning hours of Saturday. It will look like a green fireball.
- 2 planets will be visible
- Mars, Venus,
- will be able to be seen tomorrow night.