Tonight and into early tomorrow morning the February sky will entertain us with a triple effect of events: Full Moon, Penumbral Lunar Eclipse, and Comet 45P.
Most* will be able to observe the Full Moon with a Penumbral Lunar Eclipse (best eclipse visibility will be at 7:43pm EST); and with a pair of binoculars, many can witness Comet 45P as it passes over (10:30pm EST). This is the closest to earth that a comet has passed in 30 years, so be sure and look for the green streak near the constellation Hercules. Tonight's Full Moon is also known as the Snow Moon (dating back to when Native Americans would track the Seasons), and this year it is joined by the shadow of a Lunar Eclipse. While not as glamorous as a Total Eclipse, it's still a subtle phenomenon worth noting.
A Penumbral Lunar Eclipse occurs when the Sun, Moon, and Earth align in almost a straight line; and the inner part of the Earth's shadow (umbra) falls on the face of the Moon. Unlike a Partial Lunar Eclipse, you never see a dark bite out of the moon. To those who aren't aware, they will look up and see a full moon; but to those who look very close, they will see a slightly dark shading on the moon's surface. Still pretty wondrous. Here is a list of the other Eclipse events in the sky this year:
Annular Solar Eclipse- February 26
Partial Lunar Eclipse- August 7
Total Solar Eclipse- August 21
*Note: Those in the Pacific time zone, might not see the eclipse as it will be most noticeable before the moon rises there.