There'll be a triple treat of celestial delight tonight

Three celestial events will coincide in our skies tonight, putting on a spectacular display for stargazers.

A penumbral lunar eclipse, a “snow moon”, and a passing comet will all be visible in tonight’s sky.

The first event taking place will be the snow moon, which is February’s full moon. It gets its name from the heavy snows usually associated with the month, particularly in North America.

Native Americans named it the snow moon, as they had a title for each moon to keep track of the seasons.

The moon will rise at 4.44pm and set at 7.30am on Saturday.

Following the rise of the full moon, we have the penumbral lunar eclipse, due to start at 10.34pm.

A penumbral lunar eclipse happens when the sun, Earth, and moon align in an almost straight line. When this occurs, the Earth blocks some of the sun’s light from directly reaching the moon’s surface, and therefore covers a part of the moon with the outer part of its shadow. The rest of the moon receives the same amount of sunlight as usual, making the penumbral eclipse more difficult to see than a total or partial eclipse.

Following the start of eclipse comes the so-called new year comet which is blue-green in colour and can be seen from approximately midnight.

Officially it is known as Comet 45P/Honda- Mrkos-Pajdušáková — but it has been named the new year comet because it began its journey across the skies of the northern hemisphere towards the end of 2016.

It follows a predictable path around the sun and can be seen from the Earth every five-and-a-quarter years.

Astronomy experts say that stargazers stand the best chance of seeing the comet with the help of binoculars or a telescope.

It will be visible at various points of the night sky until the end of February, according to Nasa.



Breaking Stories

Man arrested after cocaine seizure in Dublin

Taoiseach disappointed by Peter Fitzpatrick's decision not to contest next election

Status Yellow weather advisory warns of spot flooding

Irish Government hails Kofi Annan as 'voice for international peace'

More From The Irish Examiner