Stargazers in for a treat with Perseids meteor shower this August –PAGASA
Weather conditions permitting, the famous Perseids meteor shower and various constellations will be among the treats awaiting stargazers this August, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said.
PAGASA administrator Nathaniel Servando said the Perseids meteor shower is expected to peak on August 12 and 13, a day after the Full Moon.
"The famous Perseids meteor shower will be observed with its peak in the late evening and early morning hours on August 12 to 13, just one day after Full Moon. Its Zenithal Hourly Rate is 15 bright and swift-moving meteors," Servando said in PAGASA's astronomical diary for August.
But Servando pointed out the meteors will be easiest to see if there is "no moonlight, light pollution at all and if the weather permits."
He said the Perseids meteor shower will radiate out from the constellation Perseus, located in the eastern horizon during August.
Aside from the meteor showers, constellations like Leo, Ursa Major, Virgo, Libra, Scorpius and Sagittarius will be most prominent during August.
Inverted Question Mark
Leo will be about 30 degrees from the horizon in the northwestern horizon, where stargazers can see an asterism known as the inverted Question Mark, or the scythe.
"This asterism represents the head of the lion," Servando said.
In the north, the constellations of Ursa Major and Ursa Minor can be located.
Another famous asterism can be found along the constellation of Ursa Major, the well-known Big Dipper.
"Navigators at night use the Big Dipper to locate the North Star Polaris," Servando said.
In the south, Virgo is high on the southwestern horizon, while Libra, Scorpius, and Sagittarius follow Virgo on the southeastern horizon.
The Crux constellation points out the South Pole, and two bright stars there can be found - Alpha Centauri and Beta Centauri.
"Using a telescope, Alpha Centauri will reveal another companion star, called Proxima Centauri, the nearest star to Earth, which is only 4.3 light years away," Servando said.
Planets above the horizon
Mercury climbs from the eastern horizon before sunrise at the beginning of the month. On August 16, it will be found around 11 degrees from the horizon 30 minutes before sunrise.
It will continue to move downward the horizon until it will no longer be visible in the sky for observation on the last week of August.
At around 4 a.m. of August 5, Jupiter and Venus will be found at about 20 and 28 degrees above the east northeastern horizon, respectively.
"The two bright planets will lie among the background stars of the constellation Taurus... They will be fine targets for telescoping and remain visible before sunrise throughout the month," Servando said.
At 8 p.m. of August 18, Mars and Saturn together with Spica, the brightest star of the constellation Virgo, will form a right triangle at the west southwestern horizon.
Mars and Saturn will be found among the background stars of the constellation Virgo.
Uranus and Neptune will be visible in the evening sky throughout the month.
"Both planets will be found at the east southeastern horizon and will lie among the background stars of the constellations Pisces and Aquarius, respectively. Uranus will glow at magnitude +5.8 while, Neptune will be faint at magnitude +7.8. A binocular or a telescope and a star map will be needed to observe this gas planets," Servando said.— TJD, GMA News
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