Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday October 2nd through Sunday October 8th.
The full moon for the month of October is on Thursday the 5th, so we'll have a waxing gibbous moon for the first half of the week and a waning gibbous moon for the remainder of the week. This full moon is known as the Dying Grass Moon, and as the full moon closest to the Autumnal Equinox, it is also the one traditionally known as the Harvest Moon.
Jupiter is very low in the west now and is setting at 8:00 p.m., less than an hour after the sun.
Saturn is up in the south-southwest at nightfall and is setting at 11:05 p.m., so there are still several hours of evening time to enjoy observing the ringed planet.
Venus and Mars will be close together all week in the morning skies before dawn, with both rising a little less than two hours before the sun. Look for Venus and Mars less than a quarter of a degree apart on Thursday morning.
Mercury is in superior conjunction with the sun on Sunday and will move from our morning skies into our evening skies.
In space anniversaries, Wednesday October 4th marks the 60th anniversary of the beginning of the space age with the launch of the Sputnik 1 satellite. The satellite transmitted for 21 days and the overall mission ended when the spacecraft reentered the Earths atmosphere on January 4, 1958.
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. Please note that there will be no Painter Telescope viewing on Saturday evenings when the UT football team has a night home game. Logon to TexasSports.com to check the football schedule. The game on Saturday October 7th is scheduled to start at 6:00 p.m., so there will be no viewing that night.
All events are free and open to all ages and no reservations are required. Note that viewing times and availability change throughout the year so please check the schedule before planning a visit. Observing events are weather permitting. Please call 512-232-4265 for weather cancellation information, which is updated 30 to 45 minutes before the scheduled viewing start time.
Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers Report.