skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday September 14th through Sunday September 20th.

The moon was new on Sunday the 13th and we won't reach first quarter until early Monday September 21st, so we will have a waxing crescent moon in the early evening skies for all of this week.

Mercury is sinking back towards the sun in our western skies and is setting just 45 minutes after the sun at mid-week.

Saturn is up in the southwest at sundown and is setting at 10:55 p.m. Look for Saturn next to the crescent moon on Friday evening.

The remainder of the planets visible to the unaided eye are up in the morning with Venus rising at 4:30 a.m., followed by Mars at 5:00 a.m. and Jupiter at 6:00 a.m.

In space news - a new batch of images from the New Horizons flyby of Pluto were released late last week as data continues to be transmitted from the spacecraft's historic encounter last July. The new pictures reveal even more detail on the complex surface of Pluto and its moons that were seen in the earlier images. You can learn more about the New Horizons mission and see the new images at pluto.jhuapl.edu

Public viewing at the 16-inch reflector on top of Robert Lee Moore Hall is on Wednesday nights currently 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 currently 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 texassports.com. The game for Saturday September 19 is a home game scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m., so there will be no viewing that night.

All events are free and open to all ages and no reservations are required. Note that viewing times and availability change throughout the year so please check the schedule before planning a visit. Observing events are weather permitting. Please call 512-232-4265 for weather cancellation information, which is updated 30 to 45 minutes before the scheduled viewing start time.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers Report.