Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday October 20th through Sunday the 26th.
The new moon for the month of October is on Thursday the 23rd. There was a lunar eclipse at the last full moon and things are still mostly lined up to give us a partial solar eclipse with this new moon. For Austin, the eclipse will start at 4:54 p.m. and will reach a maximum of 25% eclipse at 5:56 p.m. The eclipse will end at sunset for central Texas. We will be hosting a special public viewing event that day. You can observe the projected image of the sun from our solar telescope in RLM 13.132 or through telescopes with solar filters on the roof of RLM. More information is on our website at outreach.as.utexas.edu
Saturn is now very low in the west at sunset and is setting just over an hour after the sun.
Mars is in the southwest in the early evenings and is setting at 10:15 p.m. at midweek. Comet Siding Spring made a very close pass to Mars last weekend and all spacecraft at Mars are in good health following the flyby.
Jupiter is rising in the early morning skies at 2:10 a.m. this week. Mercury is emerging from conjunction and is up about an hour before sunrise.
Venus is in superior conjunction with the sun on Saturday and will move from the morning skies into the evening skies.
The Orionid meteor shower peaks Tuesday night. This shower is caused by the debris of Halley's comet and will appear to come from a point in the constellation Orion the Hunter. This shower usually peaks with about 20 meteors an hour.
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 texassports.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 so please check the schedule before planning a visit. Observing events are weather permitting. Please call 512-232-4265 for weather cancellation information, which is updated 30 to 45 minutes before the scheduled viewing start time.
Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers Report.