skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Tuesday September 6th through Sunday September 11th.

The moon is at first quarter on the morning of Friday the 9th so we'll have a waxing crescent moon for most of the work week and a waxing gibbous moon for the weekend.

Mercury is now too close to the sun to observe, so there is no longer an opportunity to catch all five of the naked eye planets at once. Mercury is setting about 5 to 10 minutes after the sun this week as it heads towards conjunction next week.

Jupiter is now very low in the west after sundown and is setting around 8:25 p.m. this week. Venus is climbing higher and away from the sun and is setting a little before 9 p.m. so you should be able to pick it out from the evening twilight this week.

Saturn and Mars and the star Antares are still making a bright triangle in the south-southwest in the early evening. The moon will be above Saturn on Thursday the 8th and will be above and to the left of Mars on Friday the 9th.

In space-related anniversaries this week, Thursday September 8th marks 50 years since the television show Star Trek premiered. The series has been cited as an influence by many people working in the sciences and has had a large cultural impact. In 1976, NASA named the first space shuttle Enterprise after a fan-organized letter-writing campaign.

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. This Saturday's game is scheduled to start at 6:00 p.m. so there will be no Painter Hall Telescope viewing that evening.

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.