Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for Monday December 4th through Sunday the 10th.
The moon is full on Tuesday the 5th. The full moon for the month of December is called the Moon Before Yule and sometimes the Long Night Moon.
Look for the moon next to the Pleiades and Hyades open star clusters on the night of the 4th.
Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, Venus and Pluto are all still relatively close to the sun and will be hard to see. You can try to catch Mercury, Mars and Jupiter shortly before sunrise and you may be able to glimpse Venus low in the west shortly after sunset. Saturn is rising at about 10:40 p.m. this week. On the night of the 9th, look for Saturn and the moon side by side. The pair will move closer together as the night progresses.
The Space Shuttle Discovery is scheduled to launch on the night of December 7. The mission will deliver a new truss section, a SPACEHAB logistics module and an integrated cargo carrier to the International Space Station. Follow the mission online at www.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.
Please note that this is the final week of public viewing this year. Viewing will resume in January 2007.
All events are free and open to all ages and no reservations are required. Note that viewing times and availability change throughout the year. Observing events are weather permitting. Please call 232-4265 for weather cancellation information, which is updated 30 to 60 minutes before viewing start time on nights when public viewing is cancelled.
Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report.