Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday September 11th through Sunday September 17th.
The moon is at third quarter in the early morning hours of Wednesday the 13th so we'll start the week with a waning gibbous moon and have a waning crescent moon for the remainder of the week.
Jupiter is low in the west-southwest at sunset and is setting at 9:10 p.m., about an hour and a half after the sun.
Saturn is in the south-southwest at nightfall and is setting at 12:30 a.m. this week.
In the morning skies, Venus is rising 5:00 a.m. so it is up for a couple of hours before sunrise.
Mercury is at its greatest elongation west on Tuesday the 12th and is rising at 5:50 a.m.
Mars is near Mercury for most of the week and is rising at 6:00 a.m. Mars and Mercury will be separated by less than a 10th of a degree on Saturday the 16th, although observing the conjunction will be difficult low in the pre-dawn sky.
In space anniversaries this week, Tuesday September 12th marks 25 years since the launch of the Space Shuttle Endeavour carrying astronaut Mae Jemison, who became the first African-American woman in space.
And on Friday the 15th the Cassini mission will draw to a close after nearly 20 years in space and over 13 years in orbit around Saturn. You can follow Cassini's final days and enjoy all of the amazing pictures it has taken over its mission at saturn.jpl.nasa.gov.
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.
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.