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PIA Press Release
2010/05/17

Leyte witnesses Venus-moon alignment on Sunday night

Tacloban City (May 17) -- The people of Leyte were treated to a very majestic sight on Sunday, the Venus- moon alignment that was seen on the night sky. The sky show was observed in parts of the country and Southeast Asia a few hours after local sunset.

The rare celestial show was described by some young Leytenos as a "smiley face? looking down on the people with happiness "because of the orderly and peaceful conduct of elections.?

For many, the sight of the crescent moon with the planet Venus directly over it looked like the illustration in one country?s flag.

Many exclaimed it was their first time to see such an spectacle. Others suffered headache trying to answer what the spectacle was called.

A television news would later report that when such occurrence appears, village elders believe it tells of lovers eloping, or a pregnant woman being married.

One bloggers wrote that Venus usually symbolizes love and an alignment with the moon usually means long awaited contentment.

On that night, Venus joined the crescent moon, its bottom part illuminated with a bright lining a few days after the new moon phase.

For stargazers, they were treated to a rare celestial show while many others did not even notice the occurrence until the same was pointed out to them.

According to a report from the India News Agency, the rare phenomenon, called an occultation, happened because the crescent Moon was poised directly between Venus and the Earth.

The last time this took place in Asia was in June 2007, and the next one will reportedly be on June 30, 2011.

Larry Sessions of EarthSky.org, a forum and blogging community for scientists and science enthusiasts, said it is "not unusual for the moon to appear to pass close to Venus" since this happens about once a month.

However, the occurrence seen on May 16 (Sunday) is said to be rare because these events "are only visible in the evening sky half the time and then only for a short period after sunset." (PIA 8) [top]

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