Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for September 18th through the 25th.
The new moon for the month of September is early in the morning on Friday the 22nd.
Since there was a lunar eclipse during the last full moon, it should be of no surprise that the sun, moon and earth are still lined up and will produce a solar eclipse at the new moon. Just like with the lunar eclipse, North America will be missing out on the solar eclipse. Because the moon is very close to apogee, its farthest point from the earth, during the eclipse, it will be an annular eclipse, where instead of blocking out the entire disk of the sun, a fiery ring of light is left around the moon. A large part of the maximum eclipse will be taking place over open ocean, and the only points of land that will get to see the full annular eclipse are Guyana, Surinam and French Guiana in South America. Some of the rest of South America and some parts of Africa will see a partial eclipse.
The autumnal equinox occurs a few minutes after 11:00 p.m. on Friday the 22nd. The fall equinox occurs when the sun crosses the celestial equator into the southern celestial hemisphere. On that day the daylight and nighttime are roughly equal and the sun will rise due east and set due west.
Jupiter is still in the southwestern skies as darkness falls, and Mars and Mercury can be spotted close to one another on the western horizon shortly after sunset. Venus is very close to the sun in the morning hours, and Saturn is rising a little after 4 a.m.
Public viewing at the 16 inch reflector on top of Robert Lee Moore Hall is on Wednesday nights 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 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 public viewing at the Painter Hall telescope on Saturday nights when the UT football team has a home game starting after 5 p.m. Check mackbrown-texasfootball.com for current scheduling information.
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 viewing start time on nights when public viewing is cancelled.
Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report.