Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday November 27th through Sunday December 3rd.
The full moon for the month of December is on Sunday so we'll have a waxing gibbous moon for all of this week. The full moon of December is known as the Long Night Moon and the Moon Before Yule. This full moon will be the one occurring closest to perigee and will have the largest angular size of the full moons of 2017.
Mercury is beginning to move back towards the sun after last week's greatest elongation but you still should be able to catch it this week before it sets at 6:45 p.m.
Saturn is alongside Mercury low in the west-southwest and is also setting around 6:45 p.m. this week. The two planets will be a few degrees apart in the early evening skies all week.
The remaining planets visible without a telescope are still in the morning skies. Mars is rising at 3:40 a.m., followed by Jupiter at 5:00 a.m. Venus rounds out the morning planets rising at 6:25 a.m., just 45 minutes before the sun.
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.
Next week will be the final week of public viewing on UT campus telescopes for the fall semester. Spring semester viewing will resume in the latter half of January 2018.
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.