Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for Monday September 20th through Sunday the 26th.
The full moon for the month of September is on Thursday the 23rd, so we will have a waxing gibbous moon for the first part of the week and a waning gibbous moon for the remainder. This full moon is known as the Fruit Moon, the Corn Moon, and because it occurs just six hours after the Autumnal Equinox, this is the full moon traditionally called the Harvest Moon.
And, as mentioned, this Thursday is the first day of fall for the Northern Hemisphere. The equinox occurs at 3:09 a.m. UT on Thursday, which is 10:09 p.m. on Wednesday local time.
Saturn is now setting only 20 minutes after the sun and is now lost in the Sun's glare. Venus and Mars are setting around 9 p.m. at midweek. Mercury is rising in the east about an hour before sunrise.
Jupiter is rising in the east around 7:30 p.m. Look for Jupiter below the moon on the night of the 22nd and to the right of the moon on the 23rd. Uranus is still a little less than a degree from Jupiter and you should be able to find it with binoculars, although the nearby full moon might make it difficult this week. Both Jupiter and Uranus are at opposition on Tuesday the 21st, so they will rise at sunset and be visible all night long. Also that evening, Jupiter and Earth will be at their closest points to one another for another 12 years, so it is a great time to observe it in a telescope.
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. This Saturday's game is scheduled for 2:30 p.m., so we will have a star party that evening.
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.