By Christopher Lloyd T. Caliwan
MANILA, April 1 (PNA) -- The sky-gazing public can expect â€œstars to fall like rainâ€ in the form of the Lyrid meteor shower this month, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said on Monday.
Vicente Malano, officer-in-charge of PAGASA, said that the Lyrid meteors will come in late April when the Earth plows through the dusty tail of the periodic Comet Thatcher (C/1861 G1) and flakes of the comet's dust, most the size of grains of sand, strike the planet's atmosphere at a speed of 49 kilometers per hour and disintegrate in the air as streaks of light.
Malano, who prepared the Astronomical Diary for April, said the event will last from April 16 to 26. This year though, the Lyrid meteors will be most visible in the evening of April 22.
However, he said a "bright gibbous moon" on that night might obscure the light of fainter meteors before dawn.
The Lyrid meteor shower has been observed for more than 2,600 years.
Chinese records show that 'stars fell like rain' during the meteor shower of 687 BC. However, in recent times, the Lyrids have generally been weak, Malano said.
The Lyrids are so called because they appear to stream from a point in the constellation Lyra, according to a posting on the website of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
Meanwhile, Malano added that a partial lunar eclipse, expected to be visible in the Philippines, will occur on April 26. He said the umbral eclipse magnitude will be at 1.47 percent.
The eclipse will also be visible in Australia, most of Asia, Africa, Europe and Antarctica.
The eclipse will begin at 2:03 a.m. Philippine Standard Time (PST) and will end at 6:11 a.m. (PST).
In Manila, the moon will rise at 5:43 P.M. on April 25 and will set at 5:40 A.M. on April 26.