Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday September 17th through Sunday September 23rd.
The moon is at first quarter on Saturday September 22nd, so we will see a waxing crescent moon for most of this week.
Mercury is still emerging from conjunction with the sun and is not easily visible. The barely-visible crescent moon will be below Spica and Saturn on Monday evening shortly after sunset. A slightly larger crescent will be to the left of Saturn on Tuesday. Saturn is setting at 9:05 p.m. at midweek. On Wednesday the crescent moon will be next to Mars, low in the southwest. Mars is setting at 9:55 p.m. at midweek.
Jupiter rises at 11:30 p.m. at midweek and is visible for the remainder of the night. Venus is rising at 4:00 a.m. and is up in the east before dawn.
The autumnal equinox for the northern hemisphere occurs at 9:49 a.m. in the central time zone on the 22nd, when the sun will cross the celestial equator and pass from the northern celestial hemisphere into the southern. On the equinoxes we see roughly equal amounts of daylight and nighttime. After the equinox the nights are longer than the daylight hours and continue to lengthen until we reach the winter solstice when the daylight hours once again begin to grow.
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.
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.