skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for Monday October 13th through Sunday the 19th.

The full moon for the month of October is on Tuesday the 14th. This full moon is known as the Hunter’s Moon and the Dying Grass Moon. Look for the moon near the Pleiades open star cluster on the night of the 16th. The pair will be fairly high in the east by 10:30 p.m., about two hours after the cluster rises.

Two bright planets are still visible in the early evening skies. Venus is in the southwestern skies and is the brighter of the two. Jupiter is in the south and is a little fainter than Venus, although it is still brighter than anything in the surrounding constellation of Sagittarius. Venus is setting at 8:45 p.m. and Jupiter dips below the horizon at midnight this week. Mars is now setting about 40 minutes after the sun as it heads towards conjunction in December.

Mercury is up about an hour before the sun and Saturn is now up about three hours before sunrise.

Last week’s flyby of Mercury by the Messenger spacecraft was successful and has already returned some amazing photos of areas of Mercury that have never been imaged by a spacecraft before. You can see the images at messenger.jhuapl.edu

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 game for Saturday the 17th is scheduled for 7 p.m., so there will be no Painter Hall 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 the scheduled viewing start time when a viewing is cancelled.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report.