Skywatchers Report

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

The moon is at first quarter on Thursday the 15th so we'll have a waxing crescent moon for the first half of the week and a waxing gibbous moon for the weekend.

Jupiter is now setting just half an hour after the sun as it heads towards conjunction in a couple of weeks.

Mercury was at greatest elongation last week and is now slowly starting to move back to towards the sun and is setting about an hour after the sun at midweek

Saturn is sinking lower in the southwest and is setting at 8:25 p.m. at midweek.

Mars is still in the south-southeast at nightfall and sets at 12:35 a.m. this week. Look for Mars right next to the first quarter moon on Thursday night.

Venus is currently the only planet visible in the pre-dawn sky, although it will be joined by Mercury and Jupiter by the end of the Month. Venus is rising at 4:50 a.m.

The Leonids, one of the best-known meteor showers of the year, peaks this weekend although viewing will be hampered by moonlight this time. The shower gets its name because the meteors appear to come from a point in the constellation Leo, which is fully above the horizon by about 2 a.m. This year only about 25 meteors an hour are expected at the peak.

Public viewing at the 16-inch reflector on top of Robert Lee Moore Hall is on Wednesday nights now from 7 to 9 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 now from 7 to 9 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.

There will be no viewing on UT campus telescopes next week due to the Thanksgiving holiday.

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.