Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for September 24th the 30th.
The moon is at first quarter on Monday the 24th. Also on Monday the moon and Mars will pair up in the southern sky in the early evening. Saturn rises at about 11:15 p.m. this week and Jupiter rises at about 1:15 a.m. Venus rises at about 5:30 a.m. and is still visible in the east around sunrise.
Over the weekend, the Deep Space 1 spacecraft survived it's close passage to a comet. The spacecraft's primary mission ended in September 1999, but was extended to undertake this risky comet fly-by. Deep Space 1 was launched in October 1998 and was designed to test 12 new technologies, including ion propulsion. For more information on the mission, go to the NASA homepage at www.nasa.gov.
In space weather news, the sun continues to be quite active, although it has probably passed the peak of its current 11 year cycle. A large flare was observed early Monday morning and also triggered a coronal mass ejection. To keep up with sunspot counts, solar explosions and other sun-related phenomena, check out www.spaceweather.com
Wednesday night star parties at Robert Lee Moore Hall start at 8 p.m. The building is located on the southeast corner of Dean Keeton (formerly 26th street) and Speedway. Take the elevator to the 17th floor and follow the signs to the telescope.
Painter Hall public viewing is on Saturday evening and starts at 8:30 p.m. Friday nights are open to UT students, faculty and staff at 8:30 p.m. The building is located on 24th street about halfway between Speedway and Guadalupe.
All events are free and open to all ages and no reservations are required. Observing events are weather permitting.