skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for September 12th through the 18th.

The full moon for the month of September is on the night of Saturday the 17th. Because this is the full moon that is closest to the Autumnal Equinox (which occurs on the 22nd), it is called the Harvest Moon. The full moon of September is also known as the Fruit Moon.

Venus and Jupiter are still low in the west at evening twilight. Venus is the brighter and higher of the two.

Mars is rising at about 10:30 p.m. this week and is now at magnitude -1.25, just a little dimmer than the star Sirius, the brightest in our skies after the Sun.

The sun has been surprisingly active over the past week, given that it is nearing the minimum of the 11 year solar activity cycle. A large sunspot has rotated back on to the earth-facing side of the sun. This spot has already produced several flares and observers in northern latitudes have reported bright auroras. To see pictures of the sun and solar activity, log on to spaceweather.com

Wednesday night viewing on the Robert Lee Moore Hall telescope will resume at the end of the month, pending the completion of roof construction.

The Painter Hall telescope is open to the public on Friday and Saturday nights from 8 to 10 p.m. Painter Hall is located on 24th street about halfway between Speedway and Guadalupe.

All events are free and open to all ages and no reservations are required. Note that star party times and availability change throughout the year. Please call this recording before planning a visit to the telescopes. Observing events are weather permitting. Please call 232-4265 for weather cancellation information, which is updated 30 to 60 minutes before viewing start time only on nights when star parties are cancelled.

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