Thursday, February 9, 2017

Tomorrow's Snow Moon Eclipse and Comet

Get ready for a lot of action in the skies tomorrow night! In the past few days, the moon has already been looking dramatic.

I took this photo three days ago. It's in what I like to call the "cat's eye phase" Can't you imagine this as a cat's eye, if it had a pupil?

After taking this photo, I wondered how close we were to a full moon. So I looked online to see when the next full moon is. Well, it's this Friday and not only will there be a full moon, but there will also be an eclipse and a comet!

I learned that forecast from The Farmer's Almanac web site. Here's a link to the article I read:

Farmer's Almanac ~ Full moon, Eclipse, and a Comet

It's worth reading! I also learned from that article, that tomorrow's moon is called "The Full Snow Moon" because usually the heaviest snows fall in February.

I went out around 5:00 pm this evening to get some photos of the nearly full moon in that subtle, almost translucent stage. You know, when the moon is starting to appear on one side of the sky and the sun is setting on the other.

About a half hour later, things looked different. I don't think I've ever captured the moon quite like this. It looks like the sun out at night.

And then a little darker:

Of course I plan on going out tomorrow night to look for the moon, try and catch the eclipse, and maybe even see that comet. Hopefully the sky will be clear. It's been so incredibly cold here and clear skies seem to accompany those low temps. As far as the eclipse goes, I hear it's going to be subtle. So maybe I'll look for a slight shadow. I don't really know if it will be possible to see the comet or how close it will be.

According to several sources, we should look for the eclipse more or less between 5:32 and 9:55 pm, EST. You're most likely to see a peak change around 7:43 pm. That sounds a lot more doable than the 3 am Saturday morning time we can expect to see the comet. Maybe it could swing by a little early so I could catch a look? They say this is the closest a comet has come to earth since 1983!

Let me know if any of you see any of this tomorrow night! I'll update this blog post with any photos I get of tomorrow's action.


OK, It's now Friday, February 10th. The lunar eclipse has finished. I went outside off and on tonight during the eclipse. The sky was very hazy tonight, but it eventually cleared up. Maybe it was hazy or less bright because the moon was shadowed.

This picture was taken at 6:00 my time (central). The moon looks bluish, doesn't it? And you can see that it wasn't crystal clear. I was lucky to have it peek out of the clouds for me, because it soon disappeared.

This one is from the peak time of the eclipse (6:43 for me). This is seriously the clearest I could get it to look. This fuzziness isn't from me wavering around or something. It actually looked like this!

Then a little after 8:00, I went out to see this unusual, diagonal cloud crossing the moon:

I've never seen anything like this, have you? It looks like a tree branch, but I assure you it's not. It seems skinny for a cloud. By around 8:30 it was gone. 

I went out at that point to see a really spooky sky. The moon was more clearly visible and there was a bright halo directly around it. Surrounding that was a light cloudy ring and a rusty colored ring.

I went out once more, when the eclipse was scheduled to end. That was near 9:00 my time. What I saw was so spooky, I couldn't help using the fisheye lens:

Look at that almost rainbow halo effect. I wonder what caused that? You can see it even more in this one:

Tonight was bitterly cold. The wind was whipping around me and  I could hear dogs howling in several directions. I kid you not! That added something.

I'd really like to know what you guys saw out there tonight! Was the sky hazy where you are? Did you see any rusty rings around the moon or did it show up as blue? I didn't see anything too shadowy in the sky, aside from that one diagonal line across the moon, but the eclipse was supposed to be a subtle one. What I did see was a surprising amount of change in the sky over a two hour period. That was an interesting experiment, checking back to see how things had changed. Who would think that the sky would look so dramatically different every half hour or so?

I also want to hear from you night owls who are up around the time that comet shoots by!


  1. Haha! You know what's funny, before I saw your link about this post I DM you about the moon last night with a pic from 7:am this morning. Hey, you got some very spooky pics here! Good documentation!

    1. Matt ~ Oh, you did! Cool, I'll have to check that out. Did you happen to see the comet? I'm not sure how close to earth it even was, but it appeared around 3 am.

      Thanks! Some of these did turn out pretty spooky. And believe me, it was spooky out there. Between the wind, those dogs howling, and some rustling noises. Not to mention the moon. :) Yeah, this did turn into some documentation with me going out every half hour or so. It was an interesting experiment to try. I'm glad my moon watching was last night, because right now it's rainy and the sky is completely overcast.

  2. We had thin clouds and didn't see much. You got a couple of great shots, however! Possibly the halo was caused by very thin cirrus clouds.

    1. Lorelei ~ Thank you! Oh, that's interesting about the cirrus clouds. I did a little reading about that and found a page which I think explains what you're taking about:

      Cloud Crystals & Halos

      It sounds like the very cold weather could have had something to do with this too. I didn't know about the diamond dust effect until now. Although, it sounds like that happens nearer to the ground? Anyway, it would be very possible for there to be ice crystals in the cirrus clouds. I was freezing every time I went out there to take a picture!

  3. Unfortunately there was heavy cloud cover on Friday night and again last night. So I must content myself with your photos of the Moon. I can never get good night time shots. What do you take your photos with?

    1. Alison ~ Sorry to hear that you weren't able to see the moon. Pretty much everyone I heard from, aside from one person, wasn't able to see the moon the other night. It was tricky for me to get those shots, because there were times I went outside and didn't see the moon at all. It's unbelievable how much it was disappearing, reappearing, and then changing in one night!

      I take my photos with a Canon PowerShot sx260. I love this camera! It's amazing that I can zoom this far with a regular camera. I mean, without using a larger camera with multiple lenses, etc.