skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for Monday October 20th through Sunday the 26th.

The moon is at third quarter on Tuesday the 21st.

Venus and Jupiter are still the planets to look for the in the evening skies. Over the next 6 weeks or so the two planets will move a little closer together each night until they will be very close to one another at the beginning of December. Currently Venus is low in the southwest at sunset and Jupiter is higher and further to the south than Venus. Mars is setting just a little over half an hour after the sun.

Saturn is now rising at 4:15 a.m. at midweek. Look for a waning crescent moon above Saturn on Friday morning and below Saturn on Saturday the 25th. Mercury is rising at 6:15 a.m. at midweek when it reaches its greatest elongation west. After that, it will start sinking back towards the sun and will eventually re-emerge into evening twilight.

The Orionid meteor shower peaks on Tuesday morning this week, although the third quarter moon will interfere with viewing. The particles that cause this shower come from Halley’s comet and appear to come from a point in the constellation Orion, which is completely above the horizon by a little before midnight.

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.

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.