skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for Monday October 11th to Sunday October 17th.

The moon is at first quarter on Thursday the 14th, so we will have a waxing crescent moon for the first half of the week and a waxing gibbous moon for the remainder.

Mercury is in superior conjunction with the sun on Saturday the 16th, so it will pass behind the sun from the Earth's point of view and will move from the morning skies into the evening skies.

Venus is now just barely visible in the evening skies and is setting at 7:30 p.m. at midweek. If you can see it in a telescope before it sets, you will see that is currently looks like a very thin crescent moon. Mars is above Venus and is setting at 8:30 p.m. at midweek.

Jupiter is still shining brightly in the southeast as the sky darkens with Uranus just a little over two degrees away.

Last week three new crew members took up residence on the International Space Station, bringing the total number back up to six. These new crewmembers will stay aboard the station until March 2011. The three previous crewmembers will return to Earth next month. You can keep up with all of the news on the International Space Station and its crew at www.nasa.gov

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 complete 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.