skywatchers report

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

The full moon for the month of September starts our week off on Monday. This full moon is closest to the Autumnal Equinox, which occurs in a week, so it is traditionally known as the Harvest Moon. For the rest of the week we will see a waning gibbous moon.

Mercury, Mars and Venus are still clustered together low in the west during evening twilight. Venus will be the easiest of the planets to find, since it is shining at nearly magnitude -4. Mars is fainter, below and to the right and Mercury, a little brighter than Mars, is below Venus for most of the week.

Jupiter is at magnitude -2.4 and is around due south at about 8:30 p.m. The last of the planets that can be seen with the unaided eye, Saturn, is very close to the sun and is up only 45 minutes before the sun. Uranus and Neptune are up in the evening skies, but you will need a telescope too see them.

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 football schedule, logon to mackbrown-texasfootball.com This Saturday’s game is scheduled for 6 p.m. here in Austin, so there will be no public viewing on the 20th.

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.