Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for Monday October 25th through Sunday the 31st.
The moon is at third quarter on Saturday the 30th, so we will have a waning gibbous moon for most of this week.
Venus is at inferior conjunction with the Sun on Thursday so it will pass between the Earth and Sun and move from our evening skies in to the morning skies.
Mercury is still emerging from the Sun's glare in the evening, so you probably won't be able to see it this week. But, you may still be able to catch Mars in the evening twilight since Mars is still setting a little over an hour after the sun.
Jupiter is still dominating the evening skies and is shining brightly at magnitude -2.8. Uranus is still nearby at about three degrees to the left of Jupiter.
In the morning skies, Saturn is rising about one and a half hours before the Sun.
The Space Shuttle Discovery is still on track for a launch on Monday November 1st after a fuel leak was detected and fixed. The shuttle will deliver a module to the International Space Station as well as the first human-like robot in space - Robonaut 2. This mission is expected to be the final flight of the Space Shuttle Discovery.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory is currently well in to the construction of the next Mars rover, named Curiosity. They have set up a live stream from a camera in the cleanroom so you can watch them construct the rover, which is much larger than any of the rovers that have gone before it. You can tune in to the stream at: http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl
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 complete football schedule, logon to mackbrown-texasfootball.com. There is a home game this Saturday with a scheduled start time of 6 p.m., so there will be no Painter Hall viewing that evening.
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.