skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday September 15th through Sunday September 21st.

The moon is at last quarter on the night of Monday the 15th and we'll have a waning crescent moon in the early morning skies for the remainder of the week.

Mercury is at greatest elongation on Sunday, but is still setting just an hour after the sun so it might be difficult to see. If you can pick out the innermost planet, look for it about half a degree from the star Spica on Saturday night.

Saturn is still up in the southwest at nightfall and is setting at 10:15 p.m. at midweek, so you still have some time to catch it in the evening skies before it goes into conjunction with the sun in mid-November.

Mars is also up in the southwest and is setting at 10:50 p.m. Look for Mars in the constellation Scorpius near its stellar rival Antares, whose name translates to "the rival of Mars".

Jupiter is rising at 4:00 a.m., a little more than three hours before sunrise. Look for a thin crescent moon next to Jupiter on Saturday morning.

Venus continues to sink back towards the sun as it heads towards conjunction next month. Venus is rising about 50 minutes before sunrise.

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.

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.