Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday November 30th through Sunday December 6th.
The moon is at third quarter on the night of Wednesday the 2nd into the morning of the 3rd so we'll start the week with a waning gibbous moon and finish with a waning crescent moon.
Saturn is in conjunction with the sun on November 30th when it will pass behind the sun from the Earth's point of view and then begin to slowly re-emerge in the morning skies over the next few weeks.
Mercury is emerging from the sun's glare in the early evening skies, but is still setting just half an hour after the sun.
Jupiter is now rising at 1 a.m. so it is visible for nearly 6 hours before becoming lost in the dawn twilight. Look for Jupiter and the moon to make a nice pair on Friday morning. Mars is rising at 2:35 a.m. at midweek, followed by Venus at 3:45 a.m.
In space anniversaries this week, Wednesday December 2nd marks the 20th anniversary of the launch of the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, commonly called SOHO. Originally planned as a two-year mission, SOHO continues to operate 20 years later. As part of its near-continuous observation of the sun, SOHO discovers many sun-grazing comets and observed its 3000th in September of this year. Images from SOHO can be seen online at sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov
Public viewing at the 16-inch reflector on top of Robert Lee Moore Hall is on Wednesday nights 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 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.
This week is the final week of public viewing on UT campus telescopes 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.