Looks like the Space Gods will bless us with a couple celestial parlor tricks on Friday night. First, a penumbral lunar eclipse will dim the light of the moon. Though it isn’t as dramatic as a full lunar eclipse (in this case, the earth’s shadow only blocks some of the sun’s rays), it still casts a subtle shadow over the entire visible face of the moon. The eclipse will occur at exactly 4:43 p.m. pacific time this Friday the 10th, but you should still be able to see it on the West Coast at moonrise around 5:30 p.m.
Since the full moon occurs once every month, each iteration has been given a unique name tied to the time of year (the practice originated with the Native Americans). February’s is the “Snow Moon,” since it’s the month that tends to have the most snowfall. (Sidenote: March’s is the “Worm Moon.” WORM MOON.)
As if that’s not enough to get you out on your porch when you would just be watching Santa Clarita Diet, there’s also a comet—Comet 45P, specifically—that will reach its closest point to earth (a mere 7.4 billion miles away) that same night, around 3 a.m. It’s will appear greenish, and though you won’t necessarily need a telescope to see it, you’ll at least want to use a decent pair of binoculars. If you know where to find the constellation Hercules, that’s about where the comet will appear. If you don’t… that’s what the Internet’s for.
Thomas Harlander is a staff writer at Los Angeles magazine. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram. He recently wrote: A Star Wars Virtual Reality Experience Just Opened in L.A. Where You Can Literally Fight Stormtroopers with a Lightsaber