Several folks have asked about my omission of Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova on this week’s highlights, particularly since there’s lots of headlines floating around this week about Full Moon, Eclipse, and Comet All at Once, or something to that effect.
The reason is, though its closest approach to Earth is Sat morning at 3am, its glory days are largely behind it. It’s zipping away from the sun at over 50,000 mph, and passing very close to Earth, but it is also a tail-less, dim, diffuse blob that’s hard to see and likely not satisfying.
In addition, after tonight the waning moon lingers into the morning viewing hours making an already dim object even harder to spot, and the window of potential success even smaller with every passing night. If you want to try, get up pre-dawn and look east.
A better option – wait til next week. This thing is moving so fast that come Tuesday it will be visible in the east before midnight, and before moonrise. Still a dim binocular target, but less effort and perhaps better viewing.
On top of all that, we’ve got 5-6 more comets on their way this spring and summer, hopefully sporting nice tails! So sorry for the omission, but I wouldn’t let you down!
As far as the other two items – you can’t have a Lunar Eclipse without also having a Full Moon, so listing those two as seperate events is just clickbait!
But they are (both) happening tonight, so get out there and see it!