skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for October 1st through the 7th.

The full moon for the month of October is on Tuesday the 2nd. Since this is the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox, which is was back on Sept. 22, this is the moon traditionally referred to as the Harvest Moon.

Mars is still in the south at sunset and currently sets around 12:45 a.m. Saturn rises at about 10:45 mid-week, with Jupiter following a little after 12:30 a.m.

Venus rises at about 5:30 a.m. and is still visible in the eastern sky shortly before sunrise.

As we head into October the constellations of autumn start to rise early enough to view some of their most famous objects in the early evening. The Great Square of Pegasus is fairly high by 9 p.m. and can be used as a guide for finding the great galaxy in Andromeda.

In the west and south, the summer constellations start to set a little after twilight. Scorpius the Scorpion is now below the horizon by 10:00 p.m. with Sagittarius setting around midnight. Right about the same time that Sagittarius and Hercules dip below the horizon in the west, one of the best known constellations is rising in the east. It is Orion the Hunter and probably one of the easiest shapes to recognize in the winter evening sky. For now though, you will have to observe it in the early morning hours.

Wednesday night star parties at Robert Lee Moore Hall start at 8 p.m. The building is located on the southeast corner of Dean Keeton (formerly 26th street) and Speedway. Take the elevator to the 17th floor and follow the signs to the telescope.

Painter Hall public viewing is on Saturday evening and starts at 8:30 p.m. Friday nights are open to UT students, faculty and staff at 8:30 p.m. The building is located on 24th street about halfway between Speedway and Guadalupe.

All events are free and open to all ages and no reservations are required. Observing events are weather permitting.