skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for August 21st through the 27th.

The new moon for the month of August is on Wednesday the 23rd.

Jupiter is still hanging on in the evening skies in the southwest after sundown. It is currently setting at around 11:30 p.m. Mars is low in the west at sunset. On Friday the crescent moon will be alongside the red planet.

There are a lot of objects clustering around the sun in the early morning skies before dawn in the first half of the week. There are three planets visible – Mercury, Saturn and Venus, and a slim crescent moon on Tuesday morning, about a day and half before the new moon. Throughout the next few weeks Venus and Mercury will continue to sink lower and lower each morning as they swing back towards the evening skies, but Saturn will be rising higher and higher.

As most people have probably heard by now, the current meeting of the International Astronomical Union is taking place in Prague and a draft of the official definition of planet has been announced. The definition will allow Pluto to remain a planet, but will also require the addition of several more objects into the category of planet. Updates on this and lots of other news from the meeting are available at www.iau2006.org

Public viewing nights on the UT telescopes are currently on break between semesters and will resume in September. Please call back for starting dates and times.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report.