Latest Stories

Comet will be visible until the 24th–Pagasa


In this Sunday, March 10, 2013, photo taken with a 600-millimeter telephoto lens, comet Pan-STARRS appears between the clouds low in the western sky as seen from Harrells, North Carolina. Stargazers have until March 24 to catch a glimpse of the comet by taking in the Manila Bay sunset, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said on Monday, March 11, 2013. AP PHOTO/THE FAYETTEVILLE OBSERVER, JOHNNY HORNE

MANILA, Philippines—Stargazers have until March 24 to catch a glimpse of the Comet Pan-STARRS or C/2011 L4 by taking in the Manila Bay sunset, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said on Monday.

Pagasa’s Space Sciences and Astronomy Section (SSAS) chief Dario de la Cruz said that aside from viewing one of the world’s best sunsets, stargazers may also see the comet for under an hour.

The weather bureau said the comet would be easiest to spot on Wednesday night (March 13) when it is at its highest position on the western horizon beside the crescent moon.

“Once you see the crescent moon, the comet will be on its right side. So that is the best time to observe the comet,” De la Cruz said.

Above planet Mars

Another reference point in the sky is the planet Mars. “The comet is usually somewhere above Mars,” the Pagasa official said.

Sunset on Wednesday will be at 6:06 p.m. and the comet could appear at 6:33 p.m., De la Cruz said, adding that people could wait until the sun sets and the sky darkens.

When seen with the naked eye, the comet will appear like a star with a tail on a low point of the horizon, on the spot where the sun sets.

De la Cruz explained that the comet’s appearance last Sunday marked its passage through the perihelion (point nearest to the sun) within the orbit of Mercury, making it appear brighter.

Fleeting view

Despite that, most stargazers in Metro Manila missed seeing the comet, while others only had a fleeting glimpse because of cloudy skies and the smog that covered the horizon.

Apart from Manila Bay, De la Cruz said the comet is also best viewed from the western horizon when there are no obstructions.

By March 24, the comet would have dipped lower toward the horizon, making it harder to see, although it will be visible until March 27 after sunset, he added.

According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa), the comet Pan-STARRS 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.

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 , Comet Pan-STARRS , Philippines - Metro , Science

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


  • What Went Before: Malacañang allies alleged involvement in pork scam
  • Timeline: Napoles tell-all
  • 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  • Napoles surgery in Makati hospital successful
  • Save the queen? Aide takes fall for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  • Sports

  • Mixers trim Aces; Painters repulse Bolts
  • Donaire junks Garcia as coach, taps father
  • ’Bye Ginebra: No heavy heart this time
  • UAAP board tackles new rules
  • Baguio climb to decide Le Tour de Filipinas
  • Lifestyle

  • The best flavors of summer in one bite, and more
  • Homemade yogurt, bread blended with pizza, even ramen
  • Visiting chefs from Denmark get creative with ‘ube,’ ‘ buko,’ ‘calamansi,’ mangoes
  • Salted baked potatoes
  • A first in a mall: Authentic Greek yogurt–made fresh in front of diners
  • Entertainment

  • Return of ‘Ibong Adarna’
  • Practical Phytos plans his future
  • In love … with acting
  • From prison to the peak of success
  • ‘Asedillo’ location thrives
  • Business

  • This time, BIR goes after florists
  • Philippine Airlines to stop shipment of shark fins
  • PH banks not ready for Asean integration
  • Stocks down on profit-taking
  • Banks allowed to use ‘cloud’
  • Technology

  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Bam Aquino becomes Master Splinter’s son after Wiki hack
  • Mark Caguioa lambasts Ginebra teammates on Twitter
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 24, 2014
  • Talking to Janet
  • Respite
  • Bucket list
  • JPII in 1981: walking a tightrope
  • Global Nation

  • PH seeks ‘clearer assurance’ from US
  • China and rivals sign naval pact to ease maritime tensions
  • What Went Before: Manila bus hostage crisis
  • Obama arrives in Tokyo, first stop of 4-nation tour
  • Believe it or not: Filipinos love US more than Yanks
  • Marketplace