Lunar eclipse, snow moon and comet will appear this Friday - here's how to watch them

Get ready for a total eclipse of the moon -- sort of.

Skywatchers will get a triple delight this Friday as a lunar eclipse, "snow moon" and comet flyby occur on the same day.

A lunar eclipse will coincide this week with a snow moon -- a full moon that takes place in February, the snowiest month of the year -- and a comet will make its closest approach to Earth.

Comet 45P -- also known as the New Year comet -- is set to appear following the lunar eclipse a few hours later on Friday night into Saturday morning.

The coming lunar eclipse, also called a penumbral lunar eclipse, occurs when the earth, sun and moon align in the middle.This rare alignment prompts the Earth's shadow to cast across the moon.

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If the sky is cloud-free that evening, the moon will take on a darker shade of silver during the eclipse, but expect to see only a subtle change.

The astronomical events will be visible once the moon is in the southern sky late at night in Europe, Africa and Western Asia. For those in North, Central and South America, the best views will be from the East.

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The Snow Moon is scheduled to rise above the horizon at 5:35 p.m EST. on Friday. After which, the lunar eclipse will then peak at 7:43 p.m., and will end at 9:53 p.m.

To check if the lunar eclipse will be visible in your area, you can look at the Time and Date site.

If you would like to watch the Snow Moon and penumbral lunar eclipse instead, you can also do so online at