(Gainesville, GA) On Feb. 10 scientists estimated three extraordinary events to occur on the same night. Their prediction was of a lunar eclipse, a comet and a full moon.
The night started with a full moon. Although a full moon isn’t considered to be extraordinary to the general public, this particular moon is called a full “snow” moon. USA Today researched the meaning behind each month having a different name for the moon. Through the Farmers’ Almanac, they found full moon names dating back to the Native Americans in the Northern and Eastern parts of the United States. Each full moon has its own name to keep track of recurring full moons. USA Today also suggested that calling February’s full moon the “snow” moon is right on target. On average, February is snowiest month in America, according to data from the National Weather Service.
The next event was the eclipse. The lunar eclipse was a penumbral lunar eclipse. Not as spectacular — or noticeable — as a total lunar eclipse. This rather subtle phenomenon occurs when the moon moves through the outer part of earth’s shadow (known as the penumbra), according to EarthSky.org. The exact moment of the penumbral eclipse was 7:43 p.m. ET (6:43 p.m. CT, 5:43 p.m. MT and 4:43 p.m. PT), and was visible from Europe, Africa, Western Asia and Eastern North and South America.
The comet named Comet 45P followed the Penumbral lunar eclipse. It was visible a few hours after the eclipse occurred. At this point, it had been visible after sunset for nearly two months, but that night it was be the closest it has ever been to the earth’s surface. NASA reported that it would be 7.4 million miles away. The comet is said to have a bright blue-green head with a tail following. It should have appeared near the constellation “Hercules.”