skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday October 31st through Sunday November 6th.

The moon is at first quarter on Wednesday the 2nd, so we will start the week with a waxing crescent moon and end with a waxing gibbous moon.

Mercury and Venus are still close together in the west-southwest shortly after sunset. Mercury is setting at around 7:45 p.m. and Venus is setting about 5 minutes later. Jupiter rises at 6:20 p.m. at midweek and is visible for the remainder of the night. Mars is up at 2 a.m. and Saturn is up about an hour and a half before the sun.

This weekend marks the return to Standard Time from Daylight Saving, so we will gain an hour back Sunday morning. The 2 to 3 a.m. hour is the one that is officially repeated.

NASA is in the final stages of prepping the next Mars Rover, named Curiosity, for its launch at the end of November. The rover is in its protective shell and is being fit into the faring that will go atop the Atlas V rocket and rolled out to the launch complex this week. Launch is currently scheduled for November 25th. You can learn more about this mission at www.nasa.gov/msl

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 public viewing times will switch to 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. next week due to the change back to standard time.

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.