skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday October 13th through Sunday October 19th.

The moon is at third quarter on Wednesday the 15th, so we'll start the week with a waning gibbous moon and finish with a waning crescent.

Mercury is at inferior conjunction on Thursday and will pass from our evening skies into the morning skies.

Saturn is still low in the southwest at sunset and is setting at 8:30 p.m. at midweek. Mars is up in the southwest and is setting 10:20 p.m.

In the morning skies, Jupiter is rising at 2:35 a.m. Venus is now too close to the sun to observe as it heads towards conjunction with the sun next week.

On Sunday the 19th, Comet 2013/A1 Siding Spring will pass very close to the planet Mars, where it will be observed by several of the spacecraft currently operating at the Red Planet. You can follow the encounter at www.cometcampaign.org

In space anniversaries this week, the Galileo spacecraft was launched from the space shuttle Atlantis 25 years ago on October 18th. Six years later, Galileo would become the first spacecraft to orbit Jupiter, where it operated until it was deorbited into Jupiter's atmosphere in 2003.

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. This Saturday's game is scheduled for 7 p.m., so there will be no Painter Hall observing that night.

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.