skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for Monday October 9th through Sunday October 15th.

The moon is at third quarter on the night of Friday the 13th.

Most of the naked-eye planets have clustered around the sun, making them difficult to observe. Jupiter is setting around 8:30 p.m. at midweek and you can catch Mercury below and to the right of Jupiter for about an hour after sunset.

Mars is about to pass behind the sun in conjunction, in two weeks. Venus will be in superior conjunction with the sun at the end of the month. Saturn is rising at about 3 a.m.

Last week the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter started to send back some of its first high resolution color photos and did not disappoint. The rover Opportunity has been working its way towards Victoria crater and arrived at the edge just in time to be spotted by the orbiter. Photos from the orbiter and the up close images from the rover are available at mars.jpl.nasa.gov

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. The game on Saturday October 14th is scheduled for 6 p.m., so there will be no public 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. 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.