Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday November 16th through Sunday November 22nd.
The moon is at first quarter late on Wednesday into Thursday morning, so we'll start the week with a waxing crescent moon and finish with a waxing gibbous moon.
Mercury is in superior conjunction with the sun on Tuesday when it will pass behind the sun from the Earth's point of view and move from our morning skies into our evening skies.
Saturn is now lost in the evening twilight and is setting just 40 minutes after the sun as it heads towards conjunction at the end of the month.
The remainder of the naked eye planets are still up in the hours between midnight and dawn with Jupiter rising at 1:45 a.m., Mars rising at 2:50 a.m. and Venus rising at 3:30 a.m.
The peak of the Leonid meteor shower is this week on the night of the 17th into the morning hours of the 18th. The first quarter moon will set by midnight so it shouldn't interfere with the prime meteor watching hours this year. The Leonids are associated with the comet Tempel-Tuttle and appear to come from a point in the constellation Leo the Lion. This year isn't expected to have greater than average activity, so around 2 dozen meteors an hour are predicted.
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.
There will be no public viewing on UT campus telescopes next week due to the Thanksgiving Holiday. The following week will be the final public viewing for the fall semester. Spring semester viewing will start in late January.
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.