Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for November 11th through the 17th.
The moon is at first quarter on Monday the 11th. Also on the 11th, Uranus will be 5 degrees above the moon. Saturn now rises at 8 o'clock, making it more accessible to early evening skywatchers. Jupiter rises a little before midnight this week. Venus re-emerges from the sun's glare in the pre-dawn hours.
Next week is the peak of the Leonid meteor shower although the full moon will hinder seeing the faintest meteors. The shower is created by the Earth passing through areas of dust shed by the comet Tempel-Tuttle. This year the earth will pass through two clumps, the first shed by the comet in 1767 and the second from 1866, which gives us the chance to see multiple bursts of storm activity.
To see the shower, start watching on the evening of November 18th as the earth passes through the first debris field. Although the constellation Leo and the radiant of the shower won't have risen in the US, it's still worth a look. The pass through the second dust patch will be at about 4 in the morning central time with Leo high in our sky and the moon getting close to setting in the west.
No special equipment is needed to view the shower, except perhaps a lawn chair and some hot chocolate!
The telescope at Robert Lee Moore hall is open to the public on Wednesday nights starting at 7 p.m. The building 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.
The telescope at Painter hall is open on Fridays for UT students, faculty and staff from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. and Saturdays are open to the general public from 7:00 to 9:00 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.
Please note that star party times change throughout the year. Please call this recording to check times before planning a visit to the telescopes.