By BBN Staff: Belizean stargazers are preparing their telescopes to spy on a rare phenomenon that will light up the heavens tonight.
Early this evening, a rare event will light up the sky. The February full moon will be accompanied by an eclipse and a comet.
A penumbral lunar eclipse will begin. A penumbral lunar eclipse is when the sun, moon and earth all line up and cast a strange effect on the moon.
The moon won’t be blacked out like in a full eclipse. Only part of the moon will be shaded, but it should be easily visible from much of the world.
Then early Saturday morning, be sure to catch Comet 45P, which will zoom past Earth. It will be an extremely close encounter as these things go, passing within 7.7 million miles (12.4 million kilometers) of Earth. Its relative speed: 14.2 miles per second, or a breakneck 51,120 mph.
This is the closest passing of a comet to earth since 1983. EarthSky.org reports that the eclipse will begin at 4:34 p.m. CST, though its peak will not occur until 6:44 p.m. CST. It is expected to end at 8:53 p.m. CST, so make sure you catch it in time.