A beautiful, shining comet flying through the sky is a rare thing. But this week it's not even going to be the rarest.

The full moon in February is called the snow moon in the northern Hemisphere. Many times, snow cover is most expansive during February across North America. Snow cover reflects the moonlight, just adding to the brightness of the night with the full or nearly full moon.

Friday night wll in fact see that comet – a green, shining light followed by a purple trail, known as 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková – joined by a bright, shining full "snow moon" and a lunar eclipse, all at the same time.

Starting early Friday evening, a penumbral lunar eclipse will begin. That means that the sun, moon and earth all line up and cast a strange effect on the moon.

But the moon itself will be remarkable, even if you can't see the eclipse. Dubbed the "snow moon" – because February is the snowiest month – it will be full and bright and the sky will be lit up bright through Friday night.

But probably most notable is the comet itself, which will shoot past close enough to be visible from earth. The comet is a bright emerald green, probably a result of the evaporation of diatomic carbon as it flies through space. And it is marked out by a bright purple tail – but it might actually have lost that since it last flew past us, astronomers say, probably the result of a brush with Venus that led it to burn off the ice core that creates it.

February Moon names from different cultures Ice (Celtic). Old Moon (Cree). Gray Moon (Pima). Wind Moon (Creek). Winter Moon (Taos). Nuts Moon (Natchez). Avunnivik Moon (Inuit). Geese Moon (Omaha). Bony Moon (Cherokee). Purification Moon (Hopi). Little bud Moon (Kiowa). Snow Moon (Neo-Pagan). Lateness Moon (Mohawk). Shoulder Moon (Wishram). Rabbit Moon (Potawatomi). Sucker Moon (Anishnaabe). Long Dry Moon (Assiniboine). Little Famine Moon (Choctaw). Storm Moon (Medieval English). Sparkling Frost Moon (Arapaho). Running Fish Moon (Winnebago). Coyote Frighten Moon (San Juan). Spruce Tips Moon (Passamaquoddy). Raccoon Moon, Trees Pop Moon (Sioux). Hunger Moon : Dark, Storm Moon : Full (Janic). Snow Moon, Hunger Moon, Trappers Moon (Algonquin).

Other moon names : Wolf Moon, Wild Moon, Quickening Moon, Solmonath Moon, Chaste Moon, Horning Moon, Red Moon, Big Winter Moon, Cleansing Moon.

February's full moon is also known as the "Full Hunger Moon" because food was scarce and hunting was difficult for ancient tribes during this month.

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