Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday November 14th through Sunday November 20th.
The full moon for the month of November is on Monday the 14th and we'll have a waning gibbous moon for the remainder of the week. This full moon is known as the Frost Moon and the Snow Moon. This full moon also occurs within about three hours of perigee - the moon's closest point to the earth in its orbit. Because of this, this full moon will have the largest angular size of any full moon this year, although it is still only about 7% larger than the average full moon size. A perigee full moon is about 14% larger than an apogee full moon, which is when the moon is at its farthest point from the earth in its orbit. The perigee full moon also creates larger than average high tides.
Mercury is still emerging from conjunction and is setting just 40 minutes after the sun. Saturn is nearby as it heads towards conjunction and is setting at 6:50 p.m. so time is running out to see it this year.
Venus is shining brightly low in the southwest as twilight ends and is setting at 8:10 p.m. Mars is higher in the south-southwest and is setting at 10:30 p.m. this week.
Jupiter is up in the east-southeast before dawn and is rising at 3:45 a.m.
The Leonids meteor shower peaks this week on Thursday November 17th, but the light of the waning gibbous moon will hamper viewing conditions. If you want to try to catch some meteors though the best time to look will be after midnight on the morning of the 17th. This meteor shower is caused by the Earth passing through the debris of the comet Tempel-Tuttle and get their name because the meteors appear to come from a point in the constellation Leo the Lion.
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 now 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. 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 no viewing on UT campus telescopes 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 so please check the schedule before planning a visit. Observing events are weather permitting. Please call 512-232-4265 for weather cancellation information, which is updated 30 to 45 minutes before the scheduled viewing start time.
Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers Report.