Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for August 13th to the 19th.
Early risers can watch the waning moon move past the morning planets this week. On Tuesday, the crescent moon will be a little below Saturn. On Wednesday, the moon will be a little above Jupiter and on Thursday morning it will be close to Venus.
The new moon for the month of August is late in the evening of Saturday the 18th in US time zones.
This year's Perseids proved to be fairly low in activity, with most observers reporting between 15 and 30 meteors an hour. The third quarter moon probably reduced the counts since the fainter meteor streaks were washed out by moonlight.
Over the weekend, the space shuttle Discovery docked with the International Space Station to deliver three new crew members and bring home the occupants who have been in space since March. The shuttle will also aid in bringing fresh supplies to the station along with dozens of science experiments that the Expedition Three crew will conduct on their tour of duty in space which is expected to last until December.
Wednesday night public viewing is held at Robert Lee Moore Hall and will begin at 9:00 p.m. The building is located at the southeast corner of Dean Keeton (formerly 26th street) and Speedway. Take the elevators to the 17th floor and follow the signs to the telescope. This week will be the last Wednesday night star party for the summer, but viewing will resume in September.
Viewing at the Painter Hall telescope for the general public is on Saturdays from 9:00 to 11:00 p.m. and Friday nights are open for UT students, faculty and staff from 9:00 to 10:00 p.m. Painter Hall is located on 24th street about halfway between Speedway and Guadalupe.
This week will be the last for Painter Hall star parties for the summer. Stay tuned for details on Fall semester viewing.
All events are free and open to all ages and no reservations are required. Observing events are weather permitting.