skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for September 15th through the 21st.

The moon is at third quarter on Thursday the 18th.

Mars is still big and bright, rising at about 6:30 p.m. at mid-week and crosses due south around midnight.

After eight years of orbiting Jupiter and fourteen years after launch, the Galileo spacecraft will end its mission in a blaze of glory this weekend. Operators have redirected the ship on a collision course with Jupiter, which should send it plunging into the gas giant's atmosphere on Sunday, September 21. The mission planners decided to end the mission in this manner to prevent a future collision with the icy moon Europa, which probably has a subsurface ocean.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory will have a webcast of the event starting at 2 p.m. central time on Sunday the 21st. Logon to www.jpl.nasa.gov/webcast/gailieo to watch.

For more skywatching tips for the week check out stardate.org

The telescope at Robert Lee Moore Hall is open to the public on Wednesday nights starting at 8:00 p.m. RLM is located on the southeast corner of Dean Keeton and Speedway. Take the elevators to the 17th floor and follow the signs to the telescope.

The telescope at Painter hall is open on Fridays for UT students, faculty and staff and Saturdays are open for the general public, both currently running from 9 to 11 p.m. Painter Hall is located on 24th street about half way between Speedway and Guadalupe.

All events are free and open to all ages and no reservations are required. Observing events are weather permitting. Call 232-4265 for up-to-date cancellation information.

Note that star party times and availability change throughout the year. Please call this recording to check times before planning a visit to the telescopes.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report.