This Friday night will bring together three prophetic significant astronomical events in an astonishing astral confluence arriving on a Jewish arboreal holiday with lunar roots.
Overnight, a penumbra lunar eclipse, the aptly named “snow moon”, and the passing of a comet will all appear within hours of each other. “Snow moon” is the traditional Native American name for the full moon in February, since this is typically the month with the most snow and the coldest temperatures.
A penumbra eclipse occurs when the moon moves through the outer part of Earth’s shadow. Lunar eclipses only occur during a full moon, but a penumbra eclipse is a relatively rare phenomenon, representing about a third of all eclipses. It creates subtle effect, making the moon seem just a bit darker.
A few hours after the eclipse, Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková, which has been visible by telescope for the last two months, will make its closest approach to the Earth. It will pass within 7.5 million miles of our planet, returning again in 5.25 years.