skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday August 29th through Monday September 5th.

The moon was new in the early morning hours of Monday August 29th and will be at first quarter on Sunday September 4th so we will have a waxing crescent moon in our evening skies all this week.

Venus is still too close to the sun to be seen in our evening skies and Saturn is now low in the west-southwest at sundown and sets at 9:45 p.m. at midweek. Look for Saturn near the crescent moon on Wednesday the 31st. Jupiter is rising in the east at 10:45 p.m. and is visible for the remainder of the night.

Mars is rising at 3:15 a.m. and is to the left of the well-known winter constellation of Orion the Hunter. Mercury is rising at 5:45 a.m. at midweek and is at its greatest elongation west on Saturday morning.

Last week a supernova was spotted in the nearby galaxy M101, sometimes called The Pinwheel Galaxy, giving astronomers a chance to study it from the point of its initial explosion which will add to our understanding of these events. Even though the light just reached us here on Earth last week, the supernova actually occurred 25 million years ago, the light-distance of its galaxy.

Public viewing at the 16-inch reflector on top of Robert Lee Moore Hall is on Wednesday nights currently from 8 to 10 p.m. RLM is located on the southeast corner of Dean Keeton and Speedway. Take the elevator to the 17th floor and follow the signs to the telescope.

Public viewing at the 9 inch refractor at Painter Hall is on Friday and Saturday nights from currently 8 to 10 p.m. Painter Hall is located on 24th street about halfway between Speedway and Guadalupe and is northeast of the UT Tower. To get to the telescope, take the elevator to the 5th floor and exit to the left. Follow the 5th floor hallway to the end and take the staircase through the double doors on the left. Once you reach the 6th floor, go to your right and follow the signs up to the telescope. Please note that there will be no Painter Telescope viewing on Saturday evenings when the UT football team has a night home game. To check the football schedule, logon to mackbrown-texasfootball.com. The game for September 3rd is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. so there will be no viewing that night.

All events are free and open to all ages and no reservations are required. Note that viewing times and availability change throughout the year. Observing events are weather permitting. Please call 232-4265 for weather cancellation information, which is updated 30 to 60 minutes before the scheduled viewing start time when a viewing is cancelled.

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