Shift Your Gaze to the Night Sky: Perseid Meteor Shower in the Philippines 2016!
When was the last time you looked up to the sky and went stargazing? This weekend might be the perfect opportunity to do so. You will definitely be in for a great show that will be visible over our archipelago.
The skies hold the most spectacular shows that nothing Earthly can rival. The sea of stars, the crescent of the moon and the vast darkness of the night sky itself truly make an amazing sight to behold. But the heavenly bodies have much more in store for us this weekend!
On the wee hours of August 13, most visible all over provinces and rural places in the country, don’t miss out on a fantastic display of an outburst of shooting stars on the best and most anticipated meteor shower of the year, the Perseids meteor shower.
What to expect?
An annual event, the Perseids meteors grace the horizons of the world, much to the delight of stargazing fans and curious people alike because of a lot of meteors that can be seen (up to 150 meteors per hour). This show of shooting stars is made possible by the comet Swift-Tuttle, whose specks of dust become those spark of meteors. But thanks to planet Jupiter for pulling the comet much closer to the Earth this year, the Perseids will be made extra special by doubling visible meteors, hence causing an outstanding outburst!
However, this “best show in nearly 20 years” of the Perseids also come with some roadblocks along the way of viewing it. All thrilled and intrigued would-be viewers of the meteor shower must avoid the smoky horizon of the metropolis. Everyone hopes and prays that rainclouds wouldn’t appear and pour. Also, as we are nearing the full moon phase, the strengthening moonlight might outshine the flicker of the comet dust, making it hard to see them. But fear not: you can do plenty to make your viewing a memorable and marvelous experience.
To be able to get the most out of the Perseids meteor shower, you would have to go out on a limb to do stargazing essentials. Just think of it as a mini-vacation to the outskirts of Metro Manila and into wherever province you wish to watch; you would be relaxing, waiting to see such a beautiful spectacle, connecting with nature, and you can even share the viewing experience with friends, family or someone special. The effort would be totally worth it.
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Stargazing Essentials in Manila: How to watch?
- Get away from the city! The pollution and the city lights will keep you from seeing even the stars. They will block the light from heavenly bodies up above leaving you with a view of only dark clouds.
- You would want to find a high place such as rooftops where you have a wide view of the night sky. The more of it you can take in, the more shooting stars you will see.
- The moon would be setting at around 1 am of August 13 so you would have to be up after midnight to see the meteor shower’s peak.
- Camp out in the dark for at least 30 minutes before the show begins. This way, your eyes will adjust to the darkness and you would be able to see more.
- Let your eyes wander about and don’t focus on a single spot. Also, do not use binoculars and telescopes. Those will only limit what you can see and you might miss out on a lot.
- Be patient. Wait for them to dart majestically across the sky. Something with this kind of beauty is definitely worth the wait.
When to watch?
The meteor shower can be seen over the week already but the peak would be from 1 to 2 am Philippine time on August 13. It is therefore best to view around these hours.
The best view: Where to watch?
The best viewing places on the other hand, if you are not planning to go far from the capital are Manila Bayfront where you can even stay earlier for a the majestic sunset, the PAGASA Observatory housed in the UP Diliman Campus and at the Manila Observatory in the Ateneo de Manila University campus both in Quezon City where experts talk to visitors all about the current astronomical activity (a great plus!).
If you are planning to drive out of the city, the provinces of Rizal, Batangas, Bataan, Zambales, Laguna and other nearby places are great stargazing spots. The very little amount of air pollution in these provinces as compared to Manila’s will give you an incredible view of the sky. Beaches, high landforms such as hills and mountains are your go-to places if you really want to go out on an adventure.
It is only once a year that something grand as this would bless our eyes. Do not let the chance to see sparks coming from the Perseus constellation in bursts of light just pass you by. Nudge friends and loved ones to stay up late with you, in the great outdoors, under the great sky. And when you finally witness the dazzling display, you wouldn’t regret waiting and watching for the shooting stars to come.