Green Comet Og

NASA/JPL-CaltechComet 45P, otherwise known as Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková, during its last pass in 2011.

Starting around 5:34 p.m. EST this Friday, a penumbral eclipse, a green comet, and a full moon will all light up the night sky.

Weather.com reports that sky gazers on the United States’ East Coast will be the first to see the sun, moon, and earth all align for a penumbral lunar eclipse, the moon darkening over time as the Earth’s shadow passes over it.

That process will last four hours and 20 minutes, according to EarthSky.com, reaching its peak at 7:44 p.m. local time.

Then, the emerald comet, known officially as Comet 45P or Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušákov, will soar by later in the night, just before dawn. Moving through the Hercules constellation, it will be visible with binoculars, according to Weather.com.

Its long name comes from the trio of astronomers who spotted it first in 1948. The comet, first spotted in 1948, will pass within just 7.4 million miles of Earth, closer even than the last time it buzzed by in 2011.

However, this time, the comet will be three times dimmer. Spaceweather.com reports that going inside the orbit of Venus must have caused the Sun to melt the comet’s ice core, thereby extinguishing its bright green tail.

Finally, following the comet, a full “snow” moon will appear. Named by the Native Americans to keep track of the seasons changing, this moon appears each February, the snowiest month in the U.S.

Friday’s other celestial performances, however, don’t occur quite so often. But, if you’re missing out on the fun this Friday, just wait. Another comet called C/2015 ER61 will blaze through the night sky sometime between mid-April and mid-May, and, for the first time in 99 years, the first total solar eclipse in the United States will take place on August 21.


Next, see some stunning video of a solar eclipse like you’ve never seen one before. Then, have a look at 21 of the most awe-inspiring photos of Earth taken from space.

Michael Gardiner
Staff Writer for All That Is Interesting based in Brooklyn. Send tips and hints to michael.gardiner@all-that-is-interesting.com
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