Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday September 17th through Sunday September 23rd.
The moon was at first quarter late on Sunday the 16th and will be full on Monday the 24th, so we'll have a waxing gibbous moon for all of this week.
The autumnal equinox for the northern hemisphere occurs at 8:54 p.m. central daylight time on Saturday September 22nd, although in some parts of the world it will be on Sunday the 23rd. This is the point where the sun crosses the celestial equator and will rise due east and set due west and the amounts of daylight and night time are roughly equal.
Mercury is in superior conjunction with the sun on Thursday and will move from our morning skies into our evening skies over the next few weeks.
Venus is low in the west-southwest at sunset and reaches its maximum illumination at magnitude -4.6 on Friday. Venus is setting at 8:55 p.m. this week.
Jupiter is up in the southwest in the early evening and is setting at 10 p.m.
Saturn is high in the south at sunset and is setting at 12:45 a.m. Look for Saturn to the right of the moon on Monday night.
Mars is up in the east-southeast at nightfall and is setting at 3:05 a.m. Look for Mars below the moon on Wednesday night.
In space anniversaries, Friday the 21st marks 15 years since the end of the Galileo mission. Galileo orbited Jupiter for over 7 years and its mission was ended with a controlled burn into Jupiter's atmosphere.
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. Please note that there will be no Painter Telescope viewing on Saturday evenings when the UT football team has a night home game. Logon to TexasSports.com to check the football schedule.
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.