Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for November 15 through the 21st.
The moon is at first quarter in the early morning hours of Friday the 19th.
Mercury reaches its greatest elongation east this coming weekend, meaning that it will be at its highest point in the west after sunset. Look for it low in the southwest shortly after sunset.
This week is the peak of one of the best known meteor showers - the Leonids. In the past few years, this shower has produced some spectacular outbursts. Unfortunately this year isn't expected to be as good, but still should produce between 15 to 20 meteors an hour. The constellation Leo rises a little after midnight and the should be at it's best after 3 a.m. Central Time on the morning on November 17th. To see the shower, you don't need any special equipment.
The Leonid shower gets its name because it appears to come from a point in the constellation Leo the Lion. The shower is caused by debris coming from the comet Tempel-Tuttle.
For more skywatching tips for the week, check out stardate.org
The telescope at Robert Lee Moore Hall is open to the public on Wednesdays from 7 to 9 p.m. RLM is located on the southeast corner of Dean Keeton and Speedway. Take the elevators to the 17th floor and follow the signs to the telescope.
The Painter Hall telescope is open to the public on Fridays and Saturdays from 7 to 9 p.m. Painter Hall is located on 24th street about halfway between Speedway and Guadalupe.
All events are free and open to all ages and no reservations are required. Note that star party times and availability change throughout the year. Please call this recording before planning a visit to the telescopes. Observing events are weather permitting. Please call 232-4265 for weather cancellation information.
There will be no public viewing next week at Robert Lee Moore Hall or Painter Hall due to the Thanksgiving Holiday.
Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report.