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Dumaguete City, PhilippinesThursday, March 7, 2013
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Comet visible
Sunday: PAGASA

MANILA – The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said yesterday a comet known as Pan STARRS, or C/2011 L4, is expected to be visible in the country, shining particularly brightly, on March 10.

PAGASA administrator Nathaniel Servando said stargazers may be able to view the comet with their naked eyes. It may reach magnitude zero or brighter as it passes through perihelion within the orbit of Mercury on March 10, he added.

Perihelion refers to the point in the orbit of the comet where it is nearest the sun.

PAGASA Space Sciences and Astronomy Section chief Dario Dela Cruz said the comet will appear like a stationary star with a tail and will be seen on a relatively low point in the horizon.

The comet was discovered by the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System atop the Haleakala volcano in Hawaii in June 2011, the United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration said.

Also this March, PAGASA said Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system, can be easily spotted as it will dazzle at magnitude -2.3 above the night sky.

It will lie among the stars of the constellation Taurus, the Bull. The largest planet speed-up with an eastward motion against the background stars. It will pass north of the light-orange star Aldebaran, the most prominent star of the constellation Taurus, it said.

Venus, on the other hand, will be found at around eight degrees in the east southeastern horizon and will be dazzling at magnitude -3.7.

It will continue to slide down the horizon as the days pass by until it will be no longer be visible for observation in the last week of the month, the weather agency said.*PNA

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Comet visible Sunday: PAGASA