skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday October 5 through Sunday October 11th.

The moon was at third quarter late on Sunday the 4th and will be new on Monday the 12th, so we'll have a waning crescent moon in the early morning skies for all of this week.

Saturn is low in the southwest as night falls and is setting at 9:40 p.m. so we're reaching the end of its time in the early evening skies as it heads towards conjunction in November.

For a bit of a challenge with binoculars or a small telescope, the outer ice giants of Uranus and Neptune are back in our early evening skies this fall. Neptune is in the constellation Aquarius in the southeast at night fall and Uranus is rising in the east in Pisces just after sunset.

The remaining planets are still together in the morning skies, with Venus rising at 4 a.m. and Mars following at 4:40 a.m. Jupiter comes next at 5:00 a.m. and Mercury rounding out the bunch rising at 6:25 a.m., about an hour before the sun. Look for a very thin crescent moon to pair up with the various morning planets in the second half of the week.

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.