skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday October 12th through Sunday October 18th.

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

Saturn is low in the west-southwest at sunset and is setting at 9:15 p.m. at midweek. Look for the thin crescent moon a few degrees above Saturn on Friday evening.

Uranus is at opposition on Monday, so it is rising at sunset and is visible the whole night. Uranus is currently at its brightest so this is a good time to get a finder chart and try to find it with binoculars or a small telescope, which will show it as a small blue-green dot.

The line-up of planets in the morning skies continues with Venus rising at 4:00 a.m., followed by Mars and Jupiter around 4:30 a.m. Look for Mars and Jupiter to be less than half a degree apart on Saturday morning, although they will be close together in the morning skies most of the week. Mercury rounds out the morning planets, rising at 6:10 a.m. Mercury is at its greatest elongation west on Friday morning.

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.