Public in for rare celestial treats

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Filipinos will be treated to spectacular celestial shows this month with the appearance of a blue moon and supermoons, meteor showers and a lunar eclipse, according to the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa).

The two full moons this month are both supermoons. The first appeared on January 2. The second full moon that will appear on January 30 will be a supermoon and a blue moon, Pagasa said. A blue moon is a second full moon in a calendar month.

To be considered a supermoon, a full moon has to come within about 361,000 kilometers (km) or 224,000 miles closer to Earth, making it appear bigger than its usual size.

This month’s second supermoon will appear on January 30 at 5:54 p.m.

Meteor showers
The weather bureau said at least 40 meteors per hour will be seen on Thursday night at the peak of the annual Quarantid Meteor Shower that started on January 3.


“The incinerated dust [from the meteor shower]are said to be particles apparently derived from the debris ejected by the near-Earth asteroid 2003 EH,” Pagasa said.

The meteor shower will likely hit the Earth’s atmosphere at the rate of about 40 kilometers per second, coming from the constellation Bootes.

Total lunar eclipse
On the night of January 31, Filipinos will enjoy two rare occurrences — a blue moon and a total lunar eclipse.

A “blue moon” will appear at 9:31 p.m.

Although the name has nothing to do with color, Pagasa said the moon may appear with a tinge of blue in certain atmospheric conditions such as when there are volcanic eruptions or when exceptionally large fires leave particles in the atmosphere.

The lunar eclipse, wherein the Earth’s shadow will cover the moon, will be seen from 6:49 p.m. on January 31 until 12:09 a.m. on February 1.

Pagasa said the use of protective filters will not be necessary as lunar eclipses are safe for viewing.

The eclipse will also be visible in western South America, North America, Asia, Australia, the Middle East, eastern Africa, Eastern Europe, the Pacific Ocean, and the Indian Ocean.

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