Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday November 14th through Sunday November 20th.
The moon is at third quarter on Friday the 18th so we will have a waning gibbous moon for most of the week and a waning crescent moon for the weekend.
Mercury is at its greatest elongation east on Monday, so for the rest of the week it will be starting to slowly move away from Venus and back towards the sun in our western skies. Mercury will be setting at 6:45 p.m. at midweek and Venus will be setting at 7 p.m.
Jupiter is up in the east after sunset and sets at about 5 a.m. Mars is rising at 12:30 a.m. and is slowly making its way back to our early evening skies as it heads toward closest approach to Earth next March. Saturn is up at 4:30 a.m.
The Leonid Meteor shower peaks on the night of the 17th into the morning of the 18th, although the third quarter moon will interfere with viewing this year. The Leonids get their name from the constellation they appear to radiate from, in this case Leo the Lion. The shower is caused by the Earth passing through debris left from Comet Tempel-Tuttle, which passes through the inner solar system every 33 years.
Public viewing at the 16-inch reflector on top of Robert Lee Moore Hall is on Wednesday nights now 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 now 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. 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. The game for November 19th is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. so there will be no Painter Hall viewing that evening.
There will be no UT campus public telescope 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 the scheduled viewing start time when a viewing is cancelled.
Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers Report.