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PAGASA: Annular solar eclipse visible in PHL on May 10

May 1, 2013 7:52am
May could be another busy month for sky watchers, with an annular solar eclipse being visible in parts of the Philippines on May 10, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said.

PAGASA OIC Vicente Malano, in the agency's astronomical diary for May, also said the annual Eta Aquarid meteor shower may be visible before dawn of May 5 and 6.

"An annular solar eclipse will occur on 10 May 2013.  It will be visible from Central Pacific Region, most of New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia and the southern parts of Philippines," Malano said.

But he said those in the southern Philippines can see the event only as a partial solar eclipse.

Malano pointed out an annular solar eclipse occurs when the Moon's apparent diameter is smaller than the Sun, causing the Sun to look like an annulus or a ring.

"An annular eclipse appears as a partial eclipse over a region thousands of kilometers wide," he said.

PAGASA indicated the eclipse may be visible starting 5:20 a.m. of May 10 until 7:33 a.m. in the Philippines.

It indicated the areas where the eclipse can be observed include Sorsogon, Masbate, Roxas City, Puerto Princesa City, Cebu, Tacloban, Dumaguete, Surigao, Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, Zamboanga, Hinatuan, Cotabato, Jolo, Davao, and General Santos.

PAGASA said the eclipse is not visible in Luzon except in the southern tip.

On the other hand, Malano said the Eta Aquarid meteor shower, derived from dust released by the famous Halley's Comet, may produce about five to 10 meteors per hour before dawn of May 5 or 6.

"The shower results when Earth crosses the orbit of Halley's Comet, running into clouds of debris or meteoroids shed by the comet as [it is being heated] by the Sun," he said.

After sunset, the Big Dipper will be visible in the northeastern sky while the North Star Polaris can be seen also.

"Polaris actually is the end point star of the handle of the Small Dipper.  The curved handle of the Big Dipper is pointing towards a bright orange star Arcturus of the constellation Bootes, the Herdsman," Malano said.


Saturn will be visible in the evening sky during May, above the east-southeastern horizon.

It will glow at magnitude +0.2 and will traverse background stars of the constellation Libra, until the middle of the month before going to the constellation of Virgo.

When viewed through a telescope, Saturn will show its disk at 18.83 seconds of an arc in diameter across the equator.

Titan, its largest moon at magnitude +8.4, can be easily seen through any optical instruments.

"Jupiter, Mercury and Venus will make a spectacular series of conjunctions in the evening twilight from the middle of the month and onward," Malano said.

Neptune and Uranus will be visible before dawn during the month, among the background stars of Pisces and Aquarius, glowing at magnitude +5.9 and +7.9, respectively.

A modest-sized binocular or a telescope and star map will be needed in observing both planets, PAGASA said.

On the other hand, Mars will be difficult to observe during the month. — LBG, GMA News
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