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Green Comet And Partial Lunar Eclipse Part Of This Weekend's Celestial Show

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A "Supermoon" over the Griffith Observatory. (Photo by Jonathan Alcorn via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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Astronomy buffs will have a full plate this weekend, as three notable celestial events will be taking place. There'll be a full moon, a partial lunar eclipse, as well as a comet that's slated to have a close encounter with our home planet.

It starts off Friday night with a full moon that's also regarded as the "Snow Moon," KPCC reports. Full moons get their monikers from Native American designations, and the February full moon was deemed "Snow" because of the snowy season (duh). Remember that super "Beaver Moon"?

This moon will be subjected to a penumbral lunar eclipse on the same night, meaning it'll pass into the edge of the Earth's shadow and result in a subtle dimming of the moon. Unfortunately for us West Coasters, the effect will be a little hard to detect as the moon rises at about the same time the eclipse has passed its full effect. According to KPCC the peak effect will take place around 4:45 p.m. today, and will last till about 6:15 p.m.

Unfortunately, the rain has brought clouds that may be obscuring the moon. But showers are expected to stop around 1a.m. on Saturday. This may give us a chance to view the headliner of this billing: comet 45P, which is expected to zip past Earth on early Saturday morning, reports NBC 4. It'll come as close as 7.7 million miles to our fair planet (yes, that's considered to be a close distance). Scientists say the comet travels at speeds of 14.2 miles per second, and that the ball of ice is approximately a mile wide. If you're not excited about the idea of a giant frozen rock, take note that this comet will have the distinction of emitting a green glow. As with the eclipse, this event will be a little hard to discern too, and you'll need to bring out your telescope and/or set of binoculars. The peak time to see the comet is about 4 a.m. or 5 a.m. on Saturday. Turn your gaze toward the constellation of Hercules to spot the comet.

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Seeing as how these celestial phenomena aren't the easiest to spot, you may want to abscond to a dark and secluded spot. Here's a guide to some spots where you can settled down and peer into the belly of the universe.

And if you're feeling like a homebody, the robotic telescope Slooh will have a live broadcast of the events.

Let's just hope the clouds clear up in time.