Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatcher's Report for January 8th to the 15th.
The first full moon of the year is on Tuesday the 9th. For some lucky folks, there will be a total lunar eclipse visible with this full moon. For the east coast of North America, the moon will rise as it is coming out of eclipse.
Jupiter and Saturn still dominate the eastern skies at sunset, while Venus rules in the west.
Late in December, the Cassini spacecraft made its way past Jupiter in order to pick up a gravity boost on its way to Saturn. While at Jupiter, Cassini joined the Galileo spacecraft, currently in orbit around the gas giant, marking the first time that a planet other than earth has been observed up-close by two spacecraft at the same time. While at Jupiter, Cassini recorded waves near the planet that were caused by interactions of Jupiter's magnetic field and the solar wind. These waves have been converted into sound, which can be heard on the flyby website at www.jpl.nasa.gov/jupiterflyby
There are also new pictures and animations of Jupiter's complex cloud patterns available at the site.
Public star parties are on hiatus until classes resume at UT. Wednesday nights will continue to be the public night at the telescope at Robert Lee Moore Hall. Saturday nights will be open to the public at Painter Hall and UT students, faculty and staff night will be on Fridays at Painter. Stay tuned for more information on dates and times.