skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday October 6th through Sunday October 12th.

The full moon for the month of October is on Wednesday the 8th so we'll start the week with a waxing gibbous moon and finish with a waning gibbous moon. This full moon is known as the Hunter's Moon and the Dying Grass Moon.

This month's full moon will also feature a total lunar eclipse, visible over most of North and South America, Australia, and Asia. Here in Austin, the moon will start into the deepest part of the Earth's shadow, known as the umbra, at 4:16 a.m. Wednesday morning and will reach totality at 5:25 a.m. Totality will end an hour later and the eclipse will still be in progress at moonset at 7:36 a.m. Because of the early hour of the eclipse, we will not be holding any special viewing on UT campus telescopes for the event.

Mercury is now setting just 30 minutes after the sun as it heads towards conjunction next week. Saturn is still visible low in the west-southwest at sunset and is setting at 9:00 p.m. at midweek. Mars is higher and in the southwest and is setting at 10:25 p.m.

Uranus is at opposition early this week so it will rise at sunset and be visible for the entire night. Uranus is not visible to the unaided eye, but you can see it with binoculars or a small telescope, where it will appear as a small blue-green dot.

In the morning skies, Jupiter is rising at 3 a.m. Venus is now too close to the sun to be see as it heads towards conjunction in two weeks.

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.