skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for Monday September 22nd to Sunday the 28th.

The autumnal equinox for the northern hemisphere occurred at 10:45 a.m. central time on Monday the 22nd. The equinox is the point where the sun crosses the celestial equator from the northern hemisphere into the southern and the day and night are roughly equal. For our friends in earth’s southern hemisphere the opposite it true and they will be enjoying the first day of spring.

The moon is at third quarter on Monday the 22nd and we will have a waning crescent moon in the skies before dawn as the moon heads towards new next week.

Venus, Mars and Mercury can still be seen together low in the west-southwest at sunset. Venus is the highest and brightest of the trio and will be the easiest to spot with the unaided eye. Look for Mars below and to the right of Venus, with Mercury below Mars. The star Spica also joins the grouping this week. Jupiter is shining brightly in the south at 8 p.m. this week and sets about 1:15 a.m. Saturn is rising a little over an hour before the sun at 6 a.m.

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.