skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for Monday September 10th to Sunday the 16th.

The moon is new on Tuesday. If you remember back two weeks, when the moon was full, there was a lunar eclipse so we know that the Sun, Earth and Moon are in a line for that to happen. Because the three bodies are still roughly lined up, there will be a solar eclipse this week. Unfortunately, unlike the lunar eclipse, the solar eclipse will not be visible in North America. To see this eclipse you will need to be in the southern half of South America or the Antarctic. The greatest eclipse will be visible in the Southern Sea near the Drake Passage between Chile and Antarctica.

Mercury is visible low in the west and is setting about an hour after the sun. Jupiter is still visible in the southwestern skies after sunset. Mars is rising at around 12:30 a.m. this week. Venus is rising a little before 5 a.m. and is shining as the ‘morning star’ before the sun climbs above the horizon. Saturn is now showing up in the morning skies about halfway between Venus and the sun.

In the past couple of weeks the twin Voyager spacecraft reached their 30-year milestone. Voyager 2 launched on August 20, 1977 and was followed by Voyager 1 on September 5, 1977. Both spacecraft visited Jupiter and Saturn and Voyager 2 was directed to visit Uranus and Neptune and is the only spacecraft to flyby those planets to date.

Public viewing at the 16 inch reflector on top of Robert Lee Moore Hall is on Wednesday nights from 8 to 10 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 8 to 10 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. Please note that there will be no Painter Telescope viewing on Saturday evenings when the UT football team has a night home game. To check the football schedule, logon to mackbrown-texasfootball.com

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 the scheduled viewing start time.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report.