skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday September 21st through Sunday the 27th.

The moon is at first quarter on Monday the 21st and will be full on Sunday the 27th so we'll have a waxing gibbous moon for most of the week. As the full moon closest to the northern hemisphere autumnal equinox, this is the full moon commonly known as the Harvest Moon. The full moon of September is also known as the Fruit Moon and the Corn Moon.

This full moon will also have a total lunar eclipse visible in many parts of the world, including Texas. For Austin, the eclipse will start at 8:07 p.m. Sunday and reach totality at 9:10 p.m. Totality will end at 10:23 p.m. and the eclipse will finish just before 11:30 p.m.

Mercury is very low in the west at sunset and is setting just 15 minutes after the sun by the end of the week. Saturn is still visible low in the southwest after sunset and is setting at 10:30 p.m. at midweek.

In the morning skies, Venus rising at 4:15 a.m. and shines brightly high in the east as dawn breaks. Mars rises at 4:55 a.m. and is near the star Regulus most of the week. Jupiter rises at 5:40 a.m., about an hour and a half before the sun.

The autumnal equinox for the northern hemisphere is early in the morning of Wednesday the 23rd in the US central time zone. At the equinoxes the sun rises due east and sets due west and the day and night are roughly equal.

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.