skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday November 1st through Sunday November 7th.

The new moon for the month of November is on Thursday the 4th so we’ll have a waning crescent moon in the early morning skies to start the week and will have a waxing crescent moon in our early evening skies on the weekend.

Venus continues to shine brightly in the southwest at sunset and is setting at 9:25 p.m. this week.

Saturn is high in the south a little after sunset and is setting at 12:30 a.m. Jupiter follows Saturn in the south-southeast at sunset and is setting at 1:45 a.m.

Mercury is now sinking back towards the sun after greatest elongation last week and is rising at 6:40 a.m. at midweek, which is still a bit over an hour before sunrise. Mars continues to emerge from conjunction and is rising at 7:05 a.m. at midweek, about 40 minutes before the Sun.

The planet Uranus is at opposition on Thursday night when it will rise at sunset and will be visible all night, so this will be a good time to try to find the 7th planet with binoculars or a small telescope.

Daylight saving time ends early on the morning of Sunday November 7th when we will repeat the 1:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. hour and return to Standard Time.

In space anniversaries this week, Thursday November 4th marks 40 years since the launch of the Venera 14 spacecraft, just 5 days after its twin Venera 13. Both spacecraft were Soviet probes that landed on the planet Venus the following year. Venera 13 survived for about 2 hours on the surface of Venus and Venera 14 survived for about an hour. Sensors on both missions measured surface temperatures over 800 degrees Fahrenheit and atmospheric pressures over 90 times what we experience on Earth.

Public viewing at the 16-inch reflector on top of the Physics, Math, and Astronomy building (formerly RLM) is on Wednesday nights currently from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. PMA 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. Masks are encouraged while visitors are in the building and in the telescope dome.

Public viewing at the 9-inch refractor at Painter Hall is on Friday nights currently from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Painter Hall is located on 24th street about halfway between Speedway and Guadalupe and is northeast of the UT Tower. Reservations will be required at the Painter Hall Telescope this semester. Please see the website outreach.as.utexas.edu and click on “Public Viewing on UT Campus Telescopes” for more information.

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.

Next week all public viewing nights will move to 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. for the remainder of the year.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers Report.