Stargazers Rejoice: The Skies Are Going Buck Wild tonight

Snow moon. Eclipse. Comets. That's a triple main event.

By Diane Rommel

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10 February 2017

Stargazers, you're going to want to try to get outside tonight. 

What's on tap, you ask? 

We've got a full moon — the Snow Moon, according to the wonderfully poetic Algonquin names for the lunar phases. That full moon will go into eclipse this evening. It's a penumbral eclipse, not a full one, meaning that the shadow of the Earth will block some of the sun's rays — leaving the moon a darker shade than usual. If you're reading this in North America, you'll see it (if clouds agree). 

After that, we've got the flyby of a comet: Comet 45P, which will make its closest approach to Earth this weekend, at 7.4 million miles. You'll be able to see it around 3 A.M., in the constellation Hercules: "Watch for a bright blue-green 'head' with a tail," USA Today suggests. 

And put this eclipse on your calendar: a full lunar eclipse, "the biggest and best solar eclipse in American history ... It will also be the first total solar eclipse to sweep across the entire country in 99 years, NASA says. And not since 1970 has there been an opportunity to see a total solar eclipse in such easily accessible and widespread areas of the nation."

Mark your calendars: it's going down August 17th. 

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