MANILA, Philippines – Astronomy enthusiasts in the country are in for a treat tomorrow as the last total lunar eclipse of the year will be visible in the Philippines’ skies.
In an interview, Engr. Dario Dela Cruz, chief of the Space Sciences and Astronomy Section of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), said that this celestial spectacle will also never happened again, not until 2014.
“Although, we will still have eclipses in the next two years… it will only be partial,” he noted.
Dela Cruz said the total time for the moon to pass completely through the umbra is about five hours and three minutes.
He said the eclipse will begin at 7:33 p.m. Philippine time — with the greatest eclipse at 10:31 p.m. — and ends at 1:30 a.m. on December 11.
Dela Cruz said the moon will rise at 5:13 p.m. in Manila on Dec. 10 and set at 5:38 a.m. the following day.
During the total lunar eclipse, he said the moon would have a tinge of a coppery red color due to light refracted from the earth’s atmosphere.
“Aside from the red color, the moon sometimes becomes bright orange or gentle turquoise,” Dela Cruz noted.
The lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes behind the earth, effectively blocking the sun's rays from striking the moon.
Dela Cruz explained that every few years the moon passes through the long deep dark shadow of the earth cast by sunlight out into space.
“When that happens, we either have a total or partial lunar eclipse,” he noted.
Dela Cruz said that lunar eclipses are safe to watch and observers need not use any kind of protective filters for the eyes.
He said the public could see this spectacular phenomenon even without a telescope.
However, Dela Cruz said that a binocular can help magnify the view and will make the dusty red coloration of the moon brighter.
“I just hope we have a clear sky to have a good view of this celestial event,” he added.
Meanwhile, PAGASA weather Raymond Ordinario said the chances of seeing the eclipse are "slim."
He said that for the next three days, Metro Manila, Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao will have partly cloudy to mostly cloudy skies with light rains due to the effect of a low pressure area (LPA).
Even though the LPA would be dissolved or moved out of the country, he said most parts of the country will continue to experience cloudy and rainy weather due to wind convergence.
“Minsan naman medyo nagki-clear iyong skies at around 10 p.m., so possible pa rin natin na makita ito (lunar eclipse),” Ordinario said.
As of 2 p.m. on Thursday, the LPA was spotted at 120 km south of Palawan.
Ordinario said the LPA has a “low-chance” of intensifying into a cyclone.