Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for Monday November 13th through the 19th.
The moon was at third quarter on Sunday the 12th and will be at new on Monday the 20th.
Four planets are currently clustered around the sun Mercury, Venus, Mars and Jupiter. Saturn is still rising just a little after midnight and is currently the only naked-eye planet visible.
The Leonids, one of the most famous meteor showers, peaks this weekend and the nearly new moon will help create good viewing conditions. The Leonids get their name because they appear to come from a point in the constellation Leo the Lion. The best viewing for North America should be on Saturday night into Sunday morning. Activity from the shower has dropped from the storm levels of previous years but could still produce rates of 100 meteors an hour, although rates closer to 25 to 30 an hour are more likely. These meteors come from debris left over from the comet Tempel-Tuttle and the showers have been observed and recorded for over 1000 years.
Public viewing at the 16 inch reflector on top of Robert Lee Moore Hall is on Wednesday nights from 7 to 9 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 7 to 9 p.m. Painter Hall is located on 24th street about halfway between Speedway and Guadalupe and is northeast of the UT Tower.
Please note that there will be no public viewing next week due to the Thanksgiving Holiday.
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 viewing start time on nights when public viewing is cancelled.
Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report.