skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for October 27th through November 2nd.

The moon is at first quarter on Halloween night. The moon and Mars will pair up on the night of Sunday November 2nd.

Some familiar shapes of autumn and winter are now rising in the evening skies. The Pleiades, commonly known as the Seven Sisters, rises at about 7 pm., with Orion and Saturn following at 10 p.m.

Last week the Sun surprised astronomers and started going to a burst of activity unusual for being three years after solar maximum. In addition to flares, prominences and coronal mass ejections, there was a large sunspot visible in the middle of the sun's disk late last week. Another large sunspot has rotated onto the side facing Earth, so with safe viewing techniques you can actually see two naked eye sunspot groups this week. For more information on the sun's recent activity and how to safely observe it, check out www.spaceweather.com

For more skywatching tips for the week check out stardate.org

The telescope at Robert Lee Moore Hall is open to the public on Wednesday nights now starting at 7:00 p.m. RLM is located on the southeast corner of Dean Keeton and Speedway. Take the elevators to the 17th floor and follow the signs to the telescope.

The telescope at Painter hall is open on Fridays for UT students, faculty and staff and Saturdays are open for the general public, both now running from 8 to 10 p.m. Painter Hall is located on 24th street about half way between Speedway and Guadalupe.

All events are free and open to all ages and no reservations are required. Observing events are weather permitting. Call 232-4265 for up-to-date cancellation information.

Note that star party times and availability change throughout the year. Please call this recording to check times before planning a visit to the telescopes.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report and have a happy and safe Halloween!