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ELi on Earth: Winter Solstice

Monday, December 21, 2015

Image of the Newgrange passageway on the winter solstice, courtesy World Heritage Ireland

Winter solstice comes to East Lansing this year at 11:49 p.m. tonight, Monday, December 21. At that time, the earth’s tilt away from the sun (for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere) will be at its maximum. From that moment until the summer solstice in June, the Northern Hemisphere will tilt more and more toward the sun.

Eli on Earth: Celestial Highlights for October and early November 2015

Monday, October 5, 2015

Illustrations from Sky Calendar are provided by Abrams Planetarium. Morning and evening twilight sky maps by Robert D. Miller.

During October and early November, there are exceptionally beautiful gatherings of planets in the morning sky. A waning crescent Moon graces the lineup of planets on Oct. 8-11 and Nov. 6-7. Except as noted, these spectacular sights through Nov. 10 will be well seen about an hour before sunrise.

Your ELi: Moons, Mugs, Mission

Saturday, September 26, 2015

What does our moon meeting our mugs have to do with our mission here at ELi?

This week Robert Victor, former staff astronomer and now a volunteer of MSU’s Abram’s Planetarium, brought us news of tomorrow’s lunar eclipse. As you can read in his article, there will be a special gathering on the parking garage behind the planetarium starting around 7 p.m. for those who want to watch the eclipse together, in the company of professional sky-gazers.

ELi on Earth: Total Eclipse of the Moon Sunday, Sept. 27

Monday, September 21, 2015

Image: "Eclipse 2010 cropped" by John Vermette 

UPDATE! We have a special offer for ELi readers. Be one of the first five people to identify yourself to the person in the ELi t-shirt at the parking ramp gathering on Sunday, September 27, and get a free ELi mug!

Sky watchers in the eastern U.S. have a chance to enjoy a total eclipse of the Moon on the evening of Sunday, September 27.

Want a Wake-Up Call for the Perseids?

Monday, August 10, 2015

Image: Gratuitous NASA sunrise photo

At ELi, we are always brainstorming ways to improve our non-profit, local news-and-information service to you. Well, today, we thought of a special service we can provide this week: a wake-up call Thursday morning if the weather is good for meteor viewing.

ELi ON EARTH: Perseids May Dazzle East Lansing

Monday, August 10, 2015

This promises to be an excellent year for the Perseid meteor showers in East Lansing. Sharp-eyed observers may see some early or late Perseids for a few weeks on either side of the shower’s peak, which is on the night-to-early morning of August 12-13. You can also read ELi’s coverage of the Geminids and the Lyrids.

ELI ON EARTH: Lyrids in East Lansing

Monday, April 20, 2015

Image of the Lyrid meteors as captured by NASA

This week is the best time for viewing the Lyrid meteor showers in East Lansing. The early mornings of April 22 and 23 (Wednesday – Thursday) will be the best time for viewing. No one knows how frequent the meteors will be from year to year. For the last two years, the light of the moon has made viewing difficult, but this year the moon will not be up during the early morning hours of prime viewing so it should not interfere. If there are clear skies, East Lansing can hope for good meteor viewing.

SHOW OF THE WEEK:: MSU Science Festival

Thursday, April 16, 2015


Almost 100 years ago, a man won a Nobel Prize for his discoveries, explaining the nature of space and time. He developed a theory of relativity that would come to be the foundation for modern physics. Mr. Einstein claimed, “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.”

This weekend, explore your own curiosities and unearth the complexities of our vast universe at Michigan State’s 3rd annual Science Festival.

MSU Observatory Public Night Viewing

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Photo courtesy of MSU Observatory, courtesy of MSU

As the weather warms each year in East Lansing, the MSU Observatory begins its season of Public Observing Nights at the MSU Observatory. The MSU Observatory is located at the corner of Forest and College Roads, just southwest of the MSU Pavilion.

The first Public Observing Nights of the spring will be this Thursday, April 16, and this Saturday, April 18, from 9-11 pm.

ELi ON EARTH: Time Change Will Help the Lazy of East Lansing See Zodiacal Light

Monday, March 9, 2015

Image, courtesy of NASA: City lights are at the horizon on the left, zodiacal light is the faint, white light that starts in the center and angles up and left, while the light of the Milky Way starts in the center and angles up and right. 

In the astronomical spring days, about an hour before dawn, the observant East Lansing resident has a shot at seeing zodiacal light in the east.

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