LOOK: Milky Way galaxy sighted in Philippine skies

HSBC Philippines
Kenneth John Gomez Milky Way
Bicolano photographer Kenneth John Gomez’s photo of the Milky Way over Mayon Volcano in Albay.

The Milky Way galaxy was clearly sighted in the Philippines’ night sky by photographer Kenneth John Gomez who wowed netizens with a captivating photo taken over Mayon Volcano in Albay, Bicol.

The Bicolano photographer posted the Milky Way photo on social media on July 24, 2020, which was shared several times online and was picked up by various national news organizations.

Gomez shared with media that the photograph was taken on his way home after he hurriedly took out his camera to capture the breathtaking sight.

“Habang pauwi ako malapit sa bahay nakita ko yung group of stars kaya bigla akong nagmadali kasi alam ko na Milky Way ‘yun at ‘yung position niya kaya kinuha ko agad camera ko, pumunta ako sa madilim na palayan para kunan siya,” Gomez said in a CNN interview.

A photo of the Milky Way over the city lights of Makati and Quezon City taken from Manila. From PAS’ official Facebook page.

It’s possible to see the Milky Way galaxy arcing overhead. Stargazers can spot it in the sky as long as there’s little to no air or light pollution.

The Milky Way galaxy was previously only visible away from Metro Manila. However, it was reported that the dip in the city’s air and light pollution as a result of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) made better viewing of the galaxy possible.

The Philippine Astronomical Society (PAS) shared a photo in March of Manila’s night sky, taken over the city lights of Makati and Quezon City.

The organization cites “the clear sky, new moon, less air pollution, and less light pollution” as factors that made the galactic center of the Milky Way easier to spot in the photo taken by its president Kashogi Astapan. The photo was shared as part of the society’s #AstroAtHome series, a weekly series of astrodiscussions.

Experts likewise affirmed the society’s statement, saying that the air quality in Metro Manila has improved after the Luzon-wide ECQ.

In the Philippines, the Milky Way’s galactic core is usually found towards the South (South-South East).

Milky Way sightings in the Philippines.

Here’s how to see the elusive Milky Way in the night skies:

PAS says that with low levels of light pollution, you can see the Milky Way with the naked eye. Stargazers trying to see the Milky Way in areas with high levels of light pollution would have better luck capturing it with a camera, the organization tells enthusiasts. PAS shared astrophotography tips in a live broadcast.

PAS also points to light pollution as the culprit for preventing one-third of humanity from seeing the Milky Way. The society posits that the Milky Way is best seen in far-flung areas, away from artificial lights. The skies also have to be clear and moonless.

Stargazers should look towards the south and find one or two of the key constellations: Scorpius and Crux. Once you find them, the Milky Way’s just below!

Photos of the Milky Way over Philippine skies.

The night sky holds endless wonders. A meteor shower lights up our skies these last days of July.

The rare comet NEOWISE made an appearance in PH skies earlier this month.

A rare solar eclipse was seen in the country on Father’s Day.

SHARE WITH US in the comments below your photos of the night skies in the Philippines!

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Margo Hannah De Guzman Quadra
Margo is a voracious reader - some might even say she reads too much for her own good. She majored in BS Psychology and hopes to become a forensic psychologist one day. She’s also an aspiring writer, mental health advocate, and a staunch believer of equality.