skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for Monday September 17th through Sunday the 23rd.

The moon is at first quarter on Wednesday the 19th.

Jupiter is still showing up brightly in the southwest at nightfall. The moon will skirt by Jupiter during the first few days of the week. Also look for the bright star Antares in Scorpius under Jupiter. Mercury is still visible very low in the west-southwest shortly after sunset. On the 21st, the bright star Spica will be about a tenth of a degree from Mercury.

Mars is rising at 12:15 a.m. at midweek and Venus is rising at 4:30 so it is high in the sky as the morning star shortly before the sun rises. Saturn is a little lower than Venus and is near the bright star Regulus in the constellation Leo the Lion.

The autumnal equinox occurs on Sunday the 23rd at a little before 5 in the morning for the US central time zone. This is the day when the sun crosses the celestial equator and goes into the southern celestial hemisphere marking the beginning of fall for those of us north of earth’s equator and the beginning of spring for our friends south of the equator.

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 The game for Saturday the 22nd is scheduled to start at 6 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. 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.