The most recent weekend proved to be a significant treat for sky watchers, thanks to three intriguing celestial events that took place over the span of just a few days.
Over the weekend, sky watchers witnessed the so-called “Snow Moon,” a total penumbral eclipse, as well as a “green comet” that made its closest flyby our planet.
February’s full moon is called Snow Moon because it takes place in a month that is traditionally a very cold winter month characterized by snow in many parts of the world. In some parts of the world, it is also called the “Hunger Moon,” and the “Shoulder to Shoulder around the Fire Moon,” because of the harsh, challenging circumstances that Native Americans faced while hunting during this month.
A number of sky watchers in the United States, the United Kingdom, and other parts of the globe captured stunning images of the Snow Moon and shared them through social media.
The stunning Snow Moon was accompanied by this year’s first penumbral lunar eclipse. The full moon rose in the east soon after sunset on Feb. 10th and began to darken at 6:14 p.m. ET. Over the course of one and a half hour, the moon slowly plowed deeper in Earth’s shadow, and the darkest part of the lunar eclipse occurred at 7:44 p.m. ET.
In the meantime, a greenish comet called Comet 45P/Honda–Mrkos–Pajdušáková made its closest approach to Earth at around 3 a.m. ET on Feb. 11th. Astronomers estimated that it passed within 7.4 million miles of our planet, roughly 32 times farther away from us than the moon.