skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for Monday September 13th through Sunday the 19th.

The moon is at first quarter on the night of Tuesday the 12th, so will have a waxing crescent moon on Monday and a waxing gibbous moon for the remainder of the week.

Saturn is now setting at around 8:15 p.m. this week as it heads towards conjunction with the sun in a couple of weeks. Venus and Mars are still close to one another low in west-southwest after sunset and set at 9:15 p.m. at midweek.

In the eastern skies, Jupiter and Uranus are less than a degree apart and are rising at 7:45 p.m. and are visible for the rest of the night.

Mercury is at its greatest elongation west on Sunday the 19th. Early risers may be able to see Mercury in the pre-dawn skies after is rises at about 6 a.m.

Late last week, the Space Shuttle Discovery was moved to the Vehicle Assembly Building to be mated to its external tank and solid rocket boosters for its last planned flight. The completed stack is due to roll out to the launch pad next week and launch is scheduled for November 1st. Discovery will take spare parts and a new robotic assistant to the International Space Station.

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 complete football schedule, logon to mackbrown-texasfootball.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. 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.