skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for Monday August 27th through Monday September 3rd.

The moon is full on Tuesday morning. The full moon for August is called the Fruit Moon and the Green Corn Moon. This full moon is worth taking a look at because it will be totally eclipsed. For those of us in North America, seeing the eclipse will require getting up a few hours before dawn, but our friends down under in Australia and New Zealand will get to see the eclipse on Tuesday evening. Europe, Africa and the Middle East will miss out this time.

For viewers in Central Texas, the partial phase of the eclipse will begin at 3:51 a.m. and totality will start at 4:52 a.m. Totality ends at 6:22 and the partial eclipse ends at 7:24 a.m. The sun rises at 7:05 on Tuesday morning, so we will get to see most of the eclipse. If you’re planning on watching the eclipse with a mid-sized telescope, you can assist NASA scientists by scanning the darkened area of the moon for meteoroid impacts. You can find out more at science.nasa.gov. Look for the article titled “The Exploding Lunar Eclipse”.

Jupiter is still shining brightly in the south-southwest at 9:00 p.m. with the reddish-orange star Antares in the constellation Scorpius below it. Mars is rising a little before 1 a.m. this week, and as we’ve mentioned in the previous weeks, the email going around about Mars looking as large as the full moon on the 27th is incorrect. Mars will still just look like a bright orange star in the east as it rises. Look for the open star clusters of the Pleiades and the Hyades nearby. Venus has re-emerged in the morning skies and is now rising about an hour before the sun. Mercury and Saturn are still close to the sun and difficult to observe.

Public viewing on campus telescopes will resume next week. Please call back next week for the exact starting times and location information.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report and have a happy and safe Labor Day Weekend.