Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday December 8th through Sunday December 14th.
The moon is at third quarter on Sunday so we'll have a waning gibbous moon for all of this week.
Mercury is in superior conjunction with the sun on Monday when it will move behind the sun from the Earth's point of view. Mercury will slowly emerge into the evening skies over the next few weeks.
Venus is setting about 45 minutes after the sun as it moves further away from the Sun after conjunction in late October.
Mars continues to shine low in the southwest at sunset and is setting at 8:55 p.m. this week.
Jupiter is rising at 10:10 p.m. at midweek and is visible for the remainder of the night. Look for Jupiter about 5 degrees from the moon on Thursday night.
Saturn is continuing to emerge from the morning twilight and is now up about an hour and a half before the sun.
The Geminid meteor shower peaks this weekend, although some fainter meteors may be washed out due to the third quarter moon. This shower appears to come from a point in the constellation Gemini and originates from the asteroid 3200 Phaethon, making it one of the few showers associated with an asteroid and not a comet. This is usually a fairly active shower and can produce up to 100 meteors an hour in good conditions.
Public viewing on UT campus telescopes has finished for the fall semester. Spring viewing will resume in late January.
Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers Report.