skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday October 17th through Sunday October 23rd.

The moon is at third quarter late on the night of Wednesday the 19th so we will have a waning gibbous moon for the first part of the week and a waning crescent for the remainder of the week.

Saturn is still emerging from last week's conjunction with the sun and cannot be seen. Mercury and Venus continue to move away from the Sun and may be a bit easier to catch low in the west-southwest this week.

Jupiter is rising at 7:20 p.m. at midweek and is visible for the rest of the night. Mars is rising at around 2:20 a.m. Look for it as a bright orange dot to the lower left of the moon in the early morning hours of Friday the 21st.

The Orionid Meteor Shower peaks on the night of Friday the 21st into the morning hours of Saturday the 22nd. This shower is caused by the earth passing through the debris left by Halley's Comet which comes through the inner solar system about every 76 years. This is not one of the most active meteor showers of the year, producing on average about 20 meteors an hour and the moon will cause some interference this year. Look for the meteors to come from a point to the left of the bright red star Betelgeuse in the constellation Orion.

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 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.