Comets, and Eclipses, and Full Moons, Oh My!

This weekend may be a good one for stargazing.

An eclipse, comet, and full moon, will all be happening starting Friday.

“This weekend, there will be a penumbral lunar eclipse,” said Renae Kerrigan, planetarium curator. “This is when the moon is passing through the faint part, or diffuse part, of the Earth’s shadow.”

The peak time for the eclipse will be Friday evening at about 6:45 pm.

In other words, the best time to see it will be around twilight when the sun has already set.

“You might be able to notice that the full moon looks a little bit less bright than usual,” said Kerrigan. “But don’t expect it to look the reddish/orange color that the total lunar eclipse looks like.”

Along with the eclipse and full moon, Comet 45P will make its closest approach to the Earth in its orbit.

“What you’re seeing when you see them in the sky is the gas vapor that the sun’s heat has caused them to give off this vapor,” said Kerrigan. “So, that’s why you see this beautiful trail of light.”

Peak time for the comet will early morning Saturday, at around 3 am.

Make sure to look high to the East.

If you see the constellation ‘Hercules,’ that means you’re looking in the right direction!

It is also helpful to have a pair of binoculars, or a telescope, when looking for these occurrences in the sky, because it is too faint to see with the naked eye.

“If you do want to have a chance to see the comet and eclipse, you want to try to find a dark sky,” said Kerrigan. “We have some pretty nice dark skies around here because we have a lot of farm land in Peoria. So, if you just get out to the country, away from city lights you might have a better chance of seeing it.”

If you happen to get pictures of any of the above phenomena, make sure to share them with Your Local Weather Authority. We will share those on our evening newscasts.

Happy Stargazing! 


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