Astronomy

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Venus to Leave East Lansing this Week

Monday, September 15, 2014
Venus

This will be the last week Venus will be visible in the East Lansing sky until late this year. While Venus is very bright, its position in the sky will soon be too close to the sun for Venus to be seen from the earth. The glare of the sun will mask Venus until it reappears in late November or early December in the evening sky after sundown.

Coronal Mass Ejection Likely to Pass North of East Lansing

Thursday, September 11, 2014
Solar flare of September 10, 2014, courtesy of NASA

An X1.9 solar flare is likely to pass north of East Lansing . . . and the rest of earth . . . today, Friday, September 12. NASA observed a solar flare on September 10, with the space agency’s Solar Dynamic Observatory capturing video of it. This solar flare was classified as large and is expected to cause a sizable quantity of material to be ejected from the sun into space. The ejection of mass from the sun into space is called a coronal mass ejection.

Perigee-Syzygy Hits East Lansing

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Several nights of clear skies have allowed the astronomically-inclined of East Lansing to lately enjoy the evening heavens. Our waning moon is (by definition) recovering from being full. A full moon occurs when the sun, earth, and moon are all lined up. This alignment of the three bodies is called a syzygy (pronounced SIZZ-eh-gee; and a particularly good word to know in Scrabble).

At the same time our moon was full, it was also having its periodic perigee (pronounced PEAR-eh-gee). Perigee is defined as the moon’s closest approach to the earth during its 28-day orbit.

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