Skywatchers Report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Tuesday September 3rd through Sunday September 8th.

The moon is at first quarter late on Thursday night into Friday morning, so we'll start the week with a waxing crescent moon and see a waxing gibbous moon this weekend.

Just two days after Mars was in conjunction with the sun, Mercury is in conjunction on Wednesday the 4th. Mercury will pass behind the sun from the Earth's point of view and will move from our morning skies into our evening skies. Venus is still close to the sun after its conjunction last month and is setting just 20 minutes after the sun.

Jupiter is now up in the south-southwest as night falls and is setting at 12:40 a.m. at midweek. Look for Jupiter just two degrees from the first quarter moon on Thursday night.

Saturn is high in the south-southeast at nightfall and is setting at 2:40 a.m. at midweek. Saturn will be a few degrees to the left of the moon on Saturday night and a few degrees to the right of the moon on Sunday night.

In space anniversaries this week, September 8 marks the 15th anniversary of the crash landing of the Genesis solar wind particle sample return capsule. The capsule crashed in the Utah desert after its parachute failed to deploy. Although the collection materials were damaged, some solar wind particles were able to be extracted for analysis.

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. Please note that there will be no Painter Telescope viewing on Saturday evenings when the UT football team has a night home game. Logon to TexasSports.com to check the football schedule. This Saturday's game is scheduled to start at 7:00 p.m. so there will be no Painter Hall 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 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.