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June offers treats for stargazers — PAGASA

June 1, 2010 8:18pm
Despite the short nights during the month, June offers treats for stargazers with a partial lunar eclipse, a meteor shower, and star and planet sightings, state weather forecasters said on Tuesday.

The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said the lunar eclipse would occur June 26, five days after the summer solstice.

"Philippine nights are at their shortest and daytime is at their longest around the summer solstice, which falls on June 21 at 1:16 p.m. (Philippine Standard Time)," Pagasa said in its astronomical diary for June.

It explained that during summer solstice, the Sun attains its greatest declination of +23.5 degrees and passes directly overhead at noon for all observers at latitude 23.5 degrees North, which is known as the Tropic of Cancer.

"This event marks the start of the apparent southward movement of the Sun in the ecliptic," Pagasa said.

PAGASA said the June 26 partial lunar eclipse would be visible in the Philippines. "The eclipse magnitude will be 54.2 percent and will also be visible primarily in some parts of America, Pacific Ocean, Antarctica, eastern Asia, and Australasia. The eclipse will begin at 4:55 p.m. Philippine Standard Time and will end at 10:21 p.m.," it said.

"Lunar eclipses are safe to watch and observers need not use any kind of protective filters in the eyes. A pair of binocular will help magnify the view and will make the red coloration of the Moon brighter," PAGASA added.

Starry, starry night

PAGASA said stargazers could have a nice time watching the night sky with the famous Summer Triangle of the stars Vega, Deneb and Altair of the constellations Lyra, Aquila and Cygnus, respectively, being well placed in the eastern horizon before midnight.

In Manila, the moon will rise at 6:28 p.m. and will set at 5:04 a.m. on June 27. Penumbral eclipse begins at 4:55 p.m., while the partial eclipse begins at 6:16 p.m. The greatest eclipse will be at 7:38 p.m., while the partial eclipse ends 9 p.m. The penumbral eclipse ends at 10:21 p.m.

Meteor shower

PAGASA also said stargazers would be treated to a meteor shower this month. It said normally, the shower is active from June 26 to July 2.

"Although the shower peaks on the 27th of June, a little or no activity will be expected this year, with full Moon on June 26. The radiant is usefully accessible virtually all night, and all observing techniques can be employed," it said.

Pagasa said the shower is derived from the debris ejected by Comet 7P/Pons-Winnecke. The radiant of the shower will originate from the constellation of Bootes, the Herdsman, which lies nearly overhead when darkness falls.

Planet sightings

During the first week of the month before sunrise, Mercury, Uranus, Jupiter, and Neptune will be found at 6, 50, 51 and 71 degrees above the east southeastern horizon and will be glowing at magnitude -0.3, +5.9, -2.4 and +7.9, respectively.

Mercury will be found among the background stars of the constellation Taurus, the Bull, Jupiter and Neptune will lie among the background stars of the constellation Pisces, the Fish while Uranus will be found among the background stars of the constellation Aquarius, the Water Bearer.

"During the first week after sunset at the western horizon, Venus, Mars and Saturn will nearly lie along a straight line that spans at about 70 degrees and this angle shrinks to about 40 degrees at the end of the month," it said.

Of the three planets, Venus appears closest to the horizon, followed by Mars and Saturn. They will be visible throughout the month of June. - KBK, GMANews.TV
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