skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday November 28th through Sunday December 4th.

The moon is new on Tuesday the 29th so we will start the week with a waning crescent moon on Monday and then have a waxing crescent moon in the early evening skies for the remainder of the week.

Saturn is now setting just half an hour after the sun as it heads towards conjunction next week.

Mercury is a little higher than Saturn in the southwest after sunset and is setting a little over an hour after the sun, so you might be able to pick it out of the evening twilight with a good view of the western horizon.

Venus is shining brightly in the southwest as darkness falls and is setting at 8:30 p.m. this week. Look for a thin crescent moon to the right of Venus on Friday and above Venus on Saturday.

Mars is still up on the south-southwest at nightfall and is setting at 10:25 p.m. this week. The crescent moon will be to the right of Mars on Sunday evening.

Jupiter is rising at 3:00 a.m. so it is now visible for several hours before sunrise.

In space anniversaries this week, Sunday Dec. 4 marks 20 years since the launch of the Pathfinder mission to Mars carrying Sojourner, the first rover to explore the Red Planet. The mission touched down on July 4, 1997 and operated for about three months.

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.

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.

This week is the final week of public viewing on UT campus telescopes. Spring semester viewing will start in late January.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers Report.