Stargazers are in for a triple treat: Friday night will feature a type of lunar eclipse, the Full Snow Moon, and even a comet. Usually a faint shadow will form on the moon's surface, and the moon will appear less bright.
The moon passes through the earth's shadow during a lunar eclipse in Miami, Florida, Aug. 28, 2007. Something very cool is happening on february 10: three rare occurrences will be lighting up the ski in the same night!
Meanwhile, 45P, a comet discovered 70 years ago, will zip by the Earth at a distance of 7.5 million miles, which is closer than it sounds in astronomical distances.
Making all of this so much better is that this will be the closest comet approach in decades and it should make things a bit easier to see.
The penumbral lunar eclipse, which means it will be nearly completely covered in shade as the Earth comes between the sun and the moon. Using a small telescope or a pair of binoculars should let people get a view of the comet in the pre-dawn skies between Thursday and Sunday.
The best time to look at the eclipse will be after moonrise, which is about 5:30 pm local time.
Stargazers will have to fearless sub-zero temperatures in order to witness tonight's lunar eclipse, which will see the moon turn darker than normal and reddish in colour. The second of several comets visible this year through binoculars or telescopes, Comet 2P Encke, returns to our view after a 3.3 year orbit around the sun.