Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday August 31st through Monday September 7th.
The moon is at third quarter on Saturday so we'll have a waning gibbous moon for most of the week and a waning crescent moon to finish out the holiday weekend.
Mercury is low in the west-southwest at sunset and is setting about an hour after the sun and is at greatest elongation on Friday the 4th. Saturn is in the southwest at sunset and is setting at 11:45 p.m. this week.
The rest of the naked-eye planets are up in the morning with Mars and Venus rising at 5:15 a.m., almost two hours before the sun. Jupiter is still emerging from conjunction and is up only half an hour before sunrise.
If you want to seek out the planets that you need a telescope to see, Neptune will be at opposition on Tuesday the 1st when it will rise at sunset and is visible for the whole night. Uranus will be near the moon that same night and will actually be occulted by the moon if you are observing from New Zealand and parts of Antarctica.
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 texassports.com.
All events are free and open to all ages and no reservations are required. Note that viewing times and availability change throughout the year so please check the schedule before planning a visit. Observing events are weather permitting. Please call 512-232-4265 for weather cancellation information, which is updated 30 to 45 minutes before the scheduled viewing start time.
Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers Report and have a happy and safe Labor Day weekend.