Skywatchers Report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday October 8th through Sunday October 14th.

The new moon for the month of October is late on the night of Monday the 8th and we'll have a waxing crescent moon in the early evening skies for the remainder of the week.

Mercury continues to move away from the sun as it heads towards greatest elongation early next month, but it is still too close to the sun to see.

Venus is now rapidly moving back towards the sun as it heads towards conjunction in a couple of weeks. You might be able to just pick it out from the evening twilight although it is setting only 30 minutes after the sun by the end of the week.

Jupiter is starting to catch up to Venus as it too moves towards conjunction, although it is setting at 8:55 p.m. this week so you will still be able to see it low in the southwest after sunset. Look for a thin crescent moon near Jupiter on Thursday evening.

Saturn is up in the south-southwest at sunset and is setting at 11:30 p.m. this week.

Mars rounds out the planets visible to the unaided eye and is still shining brightly in the south-southeast at sunset. Mars sets at 2:20 a.m. this week, so there are still a few hours of dark time to observe it.

As we head further into the fall we'll get a better opportunity to see the two planets that require binoculars or a telescope to see. Neptune is up in the southeast at nightfall and Uranus is currently rising just a little after sunset so you'll have to wait a few hours for it to get high enough to observe.

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. Please note that there will be no Painter Telescope viewing on Saturday evenings when the UT football team has a night home game. Logon to TexasSports.com to check the football schedule.

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.