Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for October 13th through the 19th.
The moon is at third quarter on Saturday the 18th.
Early in the morning hours of the 17th Saturn and the Moon will make a nice pairing separated by about 5 degrees.
Mars is still quite bright, although it is now starting to fade fast and is two-thirds the angular size it was at closest approach.
In space news, this week China is set to become just the third nation to have its own manned spaceflight program. Although information about the mission has been closely guarded, it is expected that one astronaut will make about a dozen orbits in a capsule similar to the Russian Soyuz craft and then land somewhere in Mongolia.
For more skywatching tips for the week check out stardate.org
The Department of Astronomy and the American Astronomical Society will be hosting a free public lecture on Friday October 17th at 7:00 p.m. in Welch 2.224. The talk will be given by Alex Filippenko of the University of California Berkeley entitled "Einstein's Biggest Blunder? The Case for Cosmic 'Anitgravity'". The talk is part of a two-day event honoring the retirement of Frank Bash as director of McDonald Observatory.
The telescope at Robert Lee Moore Hall is open to the public on Wednesday nights starting at 9:00 p.m. RLM is located on the southeast corner of Dean Keeton and Speedway. Take the elevators to the 17th floor and follow the signs to the telescope. The Wednesday night viewing will move to 8 p.m. starting September 17th.
The telescope at Painter hall is open on Fridays for UT students, faculty and staff and Saturdays are open for the general public, both currently running from 9 to 11 p.m. Painter Hall is located on 24th street about half way between Speedway and Guadalupe.
All events are free and open to all ages and no reservations are required. Observing events are weather permitting. Please call 232-4265 for up-to-date cancellation information.
Please note that star party times change throughout the year. Please call this recording to check times before planning a visit to the telescopes.
Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report.