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Astronomer Robert Victor provides ELi's readers news about our October night skies along with details about how you can start by heading to the MSU Observatory this weekend for Public Observing Nights.
Editor’s note: The author, Shannon Schmoll, PhD, is Director of MSU’s Abrams Planetarium. The photograph above is of SunSpotter in use showing an image of the sun.
When people think of astronomy, they often think of the stars and planets in the darkness of night. However, we have a rare treat of a daytime astronomical event coming up. On Monday, May 9, 2016, the planet Mercury will transit in front of the sun. Weather permitting, East Lansing residents will be able to observe the phenomenon as explained below.
Above: The cloud cover in East Lansing this morning.
“Cement sky” is the term used by regular ELi on Earth reporter Aron Sousa for what we’ve got overhead right now. It’s the kind of sky that makes East Lansing’s amateur astronomers like Sousa unhappy. But these night-watchers are holding out hope that the cloud cover may yet clear and they may yet get to see the unusual delight of five planets all lit up together in our early morning sky.