skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday October 10th through Sunday October 16th.

The full moon for the month of October is late on Saturday night into Sunday morning depending on your time zone, and we'll have a waxing gibbous moon for almost all of this week. The full moon of October is known as the Hunter's Moon and the Dying Grass Moon.

Venus is shining brightly in the west-southwest at sundown and is setting at 8:40 p.m. Saturn is a little higher and is up in the southwest as the sky darkens, still above Antares in the constellation Scorpius. Saturn is setting at 9:55 p.m.

Mars is up in the south-southwest near the handle of the teapot of Sagittarius this week and is setting at 11:50 p.m.

In the morning sky, Mercury is sinking back towards the sun as it heads towards conjunction later in the month and Jupiter is slowly moving away from the sun as it emerges from conjunction. The two planets will be very close to one another on Tuesday morning, rising about an hour before the sun.

Uranus is at opposition on Saturday the 15th so it will be rising at sunset and will be visible for the whole night. Uranus will be well placed for observing during the fall and winter and can be found with binoculars or a small telescope and a good finder chart.

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. The home game for Saturday the 15th is scheduled to start at 6:00 p.m. so there will be no Painter Telescope viewing 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 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.