skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for October 24th to the 30th.

The moon is at third quarter late on Monday night. Early risers can catch the moon and Saturn together on Tuesday and Wednesday high in the east.

Mars is rising around 7:30 p.m. at mid-week and just a little after 7:00 at the end of the week. Mars will reach its closest point to the Earth for this orbit at 9:00 p.m. central time on Saturday. Although Earth and Mars won’t be as close as their well-publicized encounter in 2003, Mars will still be only 69 million kilometers or 43 million miles away.

This weekend is the last in October, so we turn the clocks back and return to standard time. The hour that is officially repeated is 1 to 2 a.m. on Sunday morning.

The European Space Agency was hoping to launch its Venus Express mission this week, but has had to delay it due to contamination issues. This will be the first mission to orbit Venus since Magellan launched 15 years ago. You can learn more about the mission online at www.esa.int

Wednesday night viewing on the Robert Lee Moore Hall will be delayed at least one more week due to continuing construction. Please call this recording for updated information each week. Our current estimate is that we will be able to open in mid-November.

The Painter Hall telescope is open to the public on Friday and Saturday nights from 8 to 10 p.m. Painter Hall is located on 24th street about halfway between Speedway and Guadalupe.

All events are free and open to all ages and no reservations are required. Note that star party times and availability change throughout the year. Please call this recording before planning a visit to the telescopes. Observing events are weather permitting. Please call 232-4265 for weather cancellation information, which is updated 30 to 60 minutes before viewing start time only on nights when star parties are cancelled.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report.