skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday September 24th through Sunday September 30th.

The full moon for the month of September is on the night of Saturday the 29th. This is the full moon closest to the northern hemisphere autumnal equinox so it is known as the Harvest Moon. It is also known as the Fruit Moon and the Grain Moon.

Mercury is starting to emerge from conjunction but will still be a challenge to see in the early evening skies shortly after sunset. Mercury is setting at 7:55 p.m. at midweek.

Saturn is not too far away from Mercury (with the star Spica in between them) and is setting at 8:35 p.m. at midweek. Mars is a little higher and to the left of Saturn and is in the southwest at sunset. Mars is setting at 9:40 p.m. this week. Watch Mars move towards its "rival" orange star Antares in the constellation Scorpius over the next month. The name Antares means "the rival of Mars".

 Uranus is at opposition on Friday night so it will rise at sunset and set and sunrise.

Jupiter is slowly coming back in to the evening skies and is now rising at 11:05 p.m. and is visible until dawn. Venus is currently up as the "morning star" and is rising at 4:10 a.m.

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 mackbrown-texasfootball.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. 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 when a viewing is cancelled.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers Report.