skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for August 28th through September 4th.

The moon is at first quarter on Wednesday August 31st.

The moon will be below Jupiter on Tuesday night and alongside it on Wednesday. Look further to the left for the summer constellation Scorpius the Scorpion. Mars is very low in the west shortly after sunset.

Saturn and Venus are still together in the morning skies, although they are now moving farther apart.

In astronomy news from last week, as most people have probably heard by now, the International Astronomical Union voted to approve resolutions that now categorizes Pluto and several other objects in the solar system as dwarf planets. Pluto is considered to be the prototype of a new category of trans-Neptunian objects. The new categories also bring Ceres, the largest object in the main asteroid belt, up to dwarf planet status. After Ceres was originally discovered in 1801, it was thought to be a planet, but after other asteroids were discovered, that designation was dropped.

The space shuttle Atlantis was due to launch early this week on a mission to the International Space Station, but has been delayed due to the approach of Tropical Storm Ernesto. Stay tuned to www.nasa.gov for more information on the revised launch schedule.

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

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report and have a happy and safe Labor Day weekend.