Pagasa captures solar eclipse on film

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  • OR the first time in its history, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Administration (PAGASA) provided live feed of the solar eclipse event yesterday morning.

    In an interview at the sidelines of PAGASA’s press briefing in Quezon City, Dario Dela Cruz, chief of the agency’s Space Sciences and Astronomy Section, said the event, which was observed in the country as a partial solar eclipse, was broadcast  live via their official YouTube page from 7 a.m. until at least 10:15 a.m.

    He said PAGASA was filming the eclipse from the PAGASA Astronomical Observatory in the campus of UP Diliman, Quezon City.

    “This is the first time sa history ng PAGASA na nag-broadcast kami live ng isang astrological event,” said Dela Cruz.

    “Posibleng ulitin namin ito kapag meron ulit isang significant (astrological) event na magandang makita ulit ng ating mga kababayan,” he added.

    A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between Earth and the sun, thereby totally or partially obscuring the image of the sun as viewed from the Earth.

    According to Dela Cruz, thin clouds in Metro Manila’s skies provided near perfect conditions for many residents to see the only solar eclipse of the year.

    He said many Filipino astronomy enthusiasts gathered in various places in the metropolis, particularly in “observatories,” to witness the partial view of the solar eclipse.

    At the PAGASA Astronomical Observatory, Dela Cruz said around 100 visitors, mostly college students from UP, came as early as 7 a.m. to have a glimpse of the eclipse.

    He said PAGASA provided a telescope and safe solar filters like aluminized “mylar” films that the viewers used in observing the rare event.

    “Maraming residente dito sa Metro Manila ang nakakita sa eclipse dahil maganda ang panahon at manipis ang kaulapan kaninang umaga (Wednesday morning),” Dela Cruz said.

    “Bahagyang natakpan lang ito ng makapal na ulap 15 minutes before matapos iyong eclipse. Pero nawala rin naman iyong makapal na ulap after ng ilang minutes kaya nakita pa rin natin ang pagtatapos ng event na ito,” he added.

    Dela Cruz said the eclipse obscuration in Metro Manila was about 47 percent during its maximum phase at 8:58 a.m.

    The eclipse in Metro Manila started at 7:51 a.m. and ended at 10:14 a.m.

    Dela Cruz said the rare event was visible across the country, but with different views of eclipse obscuration.

    He reiterated that Mindanao had a good view of the partial solar eclipse, having about 80 percent of the sun covered up at maximum eclipse, while Visayas and Luzon areas saw the sun obscured from 60 to 70 percent and 30 to 60 percent, respectively.

    The eclipse’s visibility in other parts of the country was between 7:40 a.m. and 10:21 a.m.

    PAGASA earlier said the eclipse will be visible from a track that goes across East Asia, North Western Australia and Oceania.

    But it noted that only parts of Indonesia will experience a total solar eclipse.

    The next total solar eclipse will happen on August 21, 2017, but it is not expected to be visible in the Philippines.

    Meanwhile, Dela Cruz said a penumbral lunar eclipse will occur on March 23 and will be visible in the country from 5:37 p.m. until 9: 57 p.m.

    A penumbral lunar eclipse occurs when the sun, Earth and moon align in an almost straight line.

    When this happens, the Earth blocks some of the sun’s light from directly reaching the moon’s surface, and covers a small part of the moon with the outer part of its shadow, also known as the penumbra.

    During the said event, Dela Cruz said Filipino observers could see only the slightest dimming near the lunar limb closest to the umbra.

    He added that the eclipse may be undetectable unless at least half of the moon enters the penumbra.

    “Medyo magiging yellowish lang ang moon sa event na ito. Kung hindi ka lagi nag-o-observe ng moon ay hindi mo mapapansin iyong difference ng color nito sa isang ordinaryong buwan (moon),” Dela Cruz said.

    “Hindi na namin ito ila-live streaming kasi wala naman masyado significant sa event na ito,” he added.

    Aside from Asia, he said the penumbral lunar eclipse could also be observed in America, Oceania, and Australasia. (Angela Lopez de Leon, Malaya)

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