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Family Astronomy Night

January 16, 2019 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm EST

Did you know that there will be a total eclipse of the moon this month?  Come to MSU St. Andrews in Midland to learn more!  And, if the skies are clear, we will follow with an observing session.  The Moon and Mars are visible in the early evening sky this month, both by eye and by telescope, even Uranus is visible with binoculars.  Come see them all from MSU St. Andrews, and take advantage of the early darkness winter brings!

Families with school-age and older children are invited to an evening of astronomy and observing.  We will begin with a short (< 1 hr) presentation on eclipses:  what causes them, how often they happen, and how each is different.  The presentation will include useful information about the upcoming total lunar eclipse of January 20.  We will also have a short discussion describing the telescopes we have, and some fun information on astronomy in general.

If the skies cooperate, we will then begin our observing session.  We will begin with the Moon, which will be well-placed for viewing as we start our evening.  If you’ve never seen the Moon through a telescope, this will be a special treat.  The Moon will be in a waxing gibbous phase on Astronomy and Telescope Night.  At this phase, most lunar “seas” and the Ocean of Storms will be visible, the bright eastern craters will be fully lit, and the great western crater-ray systems will just be coming into view.  The southern crater fields will have good contrast.

Mars, in the south, is coming off of its best opposition in over a decade and is still in a good position for viewing.  Mars is much brighter than most stars and can be seen with the unaided eye.

There are always other options to see on Astronomy and Telescope Night.  Many stars and constellations will be visible from our St. Andrews site.  We can help you learn to identify the brighter stars by name, as well as the brighter constellations.  The distant planet Uranus will also be visible on this night; we can show you where to look for that as well.  (For Uranus, bring binoculars!)  It all depends on what interests our attendees the most!

We are located at 1910 W. St. Andrews, at the next driveway west of the Grace A. Dow Library.  Come see our newly refurbished Alden B. Dow building and grounds.

NOTE: In the case of clouds or bad weather, we will still be offering the presentation on eclipses, and will answer any general astronomy questions you bring.

Michigan State University programs, activities, and facilities are available to all without regard to race, color, gender, religion, national origin, political persuasion, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, height, weight, veteran status, age or familial status. Please inform us if you need any accommodation for accessibility at (517) 432-4499.


January 16, 2019
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm EST