skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday November 18th through Sunday November 24th.

The moon is at third quarter on Monday the 25th, so we will have a waning gibbous moon for all of this week.

Venus is still shining brightly at magnitude -4.6 low in the southwest as the sky darkens in the early evening and is setting at 8:30 p.m.

Jupiter is rising in the east-northeast at 8:55 p.m. at midweek. Look for the moon and Jupiter about 5 degrees apart from one another on Thursday night.

Mars is rising at 1:45 a.m. and is currently visible on the border between Leo and Virgo. Mercury is up at 5:30 a.m. at midweek and is at its greatest elongation on Monday morning. Saturn is still emerging from conjunction but is now up an hour before the sun rises.

Many astronomers, both amateur and professional, have been keeping an eye on Comet ISON, which will swing past the sun on Thanksgiving day. The comet had a recent outburst of activity, which is expected as it grows closer to the sun, and is visible in the east before dawn near the star Spica. Finder charts are available on spaceweather.com

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 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 be no public viewing on UT campus telescopes next week due the Thanksgiving holiday. The following week will be the final week of viewing for the fall semester.

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.