STARGAZERS have potentially got a real treat in store tonight, Friday. 

As staring up at the sky this evening you could spot not one but three astronomical events. 

First up is the lunar eclipse before the Snow Moon and then the New Year comet will whizz by during its closet approach to Earth since 2011. 

So what is a Snow Moon?

The name for February's full moon appears to come from the fact the second month of the year has always had the heaviest snowfall in America. 

The snow moon will rise at 4.44pm tonight, Friday, and will set at 7.30am on Saturday morning.

What do I need to know about the lunar eclipse?

The moon will spend more than 4 hours coasting through Earth's outer shadow, called the penumbra, and it will appear darker than normal.

While penumbral eclipses can be difficult to see and don't look nearly as dramatic as a total lunar eclipse, in which the moon passes through the darkest, central part of Earth's shadow, Friday's penumbral eclipse will be darker and more noticeable than most lunar eclipses of its kind.

According to, that's because the moon will veer so deeply into Earth's penumbral shadow that it will be almost entirely submerged in shade. 

The moon will first enter Earth's shadow at 10.32pm this evening and its moonlight will slowly but surely grow dimmer for a little over two hours.

After the eclipse peaks at 12.34am on Saturday morning, the bright glow of the full moon will take about another 2 hours to return to normal. 

When and where is the best time to see it?

The moon will appear darkest when the eclipse is at its maximum at 12.34am on Saturday.

You'll have the best chance of seeing it away from any light pollution.

That's two ticked off, what about the comet?

It has been visible around the world since December, including over the New Year, but this weekend it will come just 0.08 Astronomical Units (7.4 million miles) from Earth as it makes its closest approach since 2011. 

Stargazers should look up at the constellation Hercules from midnight on February 10/11 and look out for its blue-green 'head' and fan-shaped tail.

If the sky is clear it should be visible to the naked eye but experts add a pair of binoculars will probably be handy. 

If you miss it, you'll have to wait until 2022 to see it again. 


Part 2: Comet 45P, visible after sunset over the last two months through both binoculars and telescopes makes its closest approach to Earth on February 11. 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. CREDIT: NASA #nasa #space #whatsup #february #sky #stargazing #nightsky #comet #sunset #telescope

View on Instagram

And if you manage to get a picture of one of these astronomical treats, please email it to