Latest Stories

Clouds, smog spoil comet’s show in Metro Manila


CELESTIAL SPECTACLE For a fleeting moment, comet Pan-STARRS was visible in Metro Manila at sunset on Sunday despite the clouds and smog. The spectacular photo here was taken from Queenstown, New Zealand. The comet can still be seen in the Philippines in the next few days. AP

MANILA, Philippines—Comet Pan-STARRS was a shade darker than the orange sunset on Manila Bay and it looked like a short fading trail in the twilight.

I thought of making a wish but figured it was a comet, not a falling star. I was rendered speechless by this celestial spectacle.

I’m not sure what to make of the fact the comets fly by so close to Earth, too often. I tried to take a photo but my smartphone could not pick up any decent image because of the distance.

I called my officemates instead but they arrived too late. I was thankful I had a glimpse of the celestial body.

I went to the roof deck of the four-story building of the Inquirer in Makati City at dusk Sunday after reading about the comet in the news.

Astronomers from Pagasa earlier said that the comet should come at sunset and I googled the time it would be visible in Manila.

I doubted if I could catch a glimpse of Pan-STARRS as clouds were threatening to cover the red-orange small opening on the horizon just above the rows of buildings and houses.

I waited for 12 minutes until 6:07 p.m.

Just when I was about to give up and go back to work in the newsroom, I saw a thin reddish streak pass by a cellular phone transmitter downward before it faded. The sight lasted for about 30 seconds as the comet faded into the clouds and smog.

You still have a chance to see a comet for real.

Pan-STARRS is visible in the Northern Hemisphere, including the Philippines.

Shining particularly brightly on March 10, the comet shows up in the western part of the sky just after sunset.

It appears like a stationary star with a tail and will be seen at a relatively low point on the horizon, according to Pagasa (Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration).

The comet has been visible for weeks from the Southern Hemisphere. Now the top half of the world gets a glimpse as well.

California astronomer Tony Phillips said the comet’s proximity to the moon would make it easier for novice sky watchers to find it.

Binoculars likely will be needed for the best viewing, Phillips said, warning onlookers to avoid pointing them at the setting sun.

Weather observer Rex Guerrero of Pagasa’s astronomical observatory said the comet would have been visible to the naked eye some 30 minutes after the sun set. “Unfortunately, here in Metro Manila it could hardly be seen because of the clouds and haze,” he said.

He said people in the provinces may have a better chance if the skies were not cloudy.

The comet was named after the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System which first spotted the heavenly body atop the Haleakala volcano in Hawaii in June 2011.

Thought to be billions of years old, the comet originated in the distant Oort cloud—a cloud of icy bodies well beyond the orbits of Neptune and Pluto—and somehow got propelled toward the inner solar system. It’s never passed by Earth before, Phillips said.—With reports from Jeannette I. Andrade and AP

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Astronomy , comet , Metro Manila , Philippines

  • http://twitter.com/JK_Yaner Janine Janer

    will it still visible tonight???

  • akoombulator

    yes of course if you are on mt. apo

  • WeAry_Bat

    Reminds me of that movie, Stardust.

  • xrisp

    A beautiful and magnificent creation of God giving glory to His Mighty Name!

  • http://twitter.com/absurdword Jose Mateo S. Boza

    A beautiful and magnificent natural occurrence that only science can explain.

    And yes, I am trolling xrisp’s post.

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


  • Holy fire ceremony draws thousands in Jerusalem
  • Tanchanco, former NFA head; 83
  • Pope seeks to bring faith to ‘ends of the Earth’
  • Meteor shower to light up PH skies
  • Positive in UAE, returning Filipino nurse tests negative
  • Sports

  • Pacquiao top Mayweather contender
  • Rain or Shine, Ginebra clash for No. 6 spot
  • Ateneo eyes quarterfinal spot vs Benilde
  • Style contrast marks OneFC ‘Rise of Heroes’
  • ‘Pacquiao a great ambassador for basketball’
  • Lifestyle

  • Noli Yamsuan, Cardinal Sin’s ‘official’ photographer: ‘I could smell the aftershave lotion of the Pope’
  • Simplifying and lightening life
  • Where to go for Easter night-out
  • Joe de Venecia visits the Queen Mother of Cambodia
  • Fashionistas flock to designer’s wedding
  • Entertainment

  • Why ‘Noah’ can’t dock his ark at Philippine theaters
  • Acclaimed artist goes wild while on holiday
  • Believing in this mermaid
  • Missing Xian
  • Awarded TV couple brings Jesus’ life to the big screen
  • Business

  • Top-selling insurance agent opens her dream café
  • Connecting and transacting with one another
  • Building wealth for health
  • Why Mandaue Foam buys, rather than rents, space
  • A workplace of new possibilities
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Epiphany
  • Unpaid creditor vs distressed debtor
  • Moving on
  • From culinary desert to paradise
  • Response to China: ‘Usjaphil’
  • Global Nation

  • Asia seeks Obama’s assurance in territorial spats
  • Cesar Chavez movie sparks memories of Fil-Am labor leaders
  • Filipinos in US poised for success
  • Visas for priests and other faith leaders
  • DOH to continue tracking co-passengers of OFW infected with MERS virus
  • Marketplace