skywatchers report

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

The moon is full on Saturday December 6th so we'll have a waxing gibbous moon for most of the week. This full moon is known as the Long Night Moon and the Moon Before Yule.

Venus is still emerging from the Sun's glare and is setting about 40 minutes after the sun. Mars remains up in the south-southwest in the early evening and is setting at 8:55 p.m. this week. Jupiter is rising at 10:40 p.m. at midweek and is visible for the remainder for the night.

Saturn is emerging from the sun's glare and is up an hour and 10 minutes before sunrise. Mercury is now very close to the sun as it heads towards conjunction early next week.

In space anniversaries this week, Thursday December 4th marks the 40th anniversary of the Pioneer 11 flyby of Jupiter. Pioneer 11 was the second spacecraft to fly past Jupiter, after Pioneer 10 flew past a year earlier. With the gravity assist from Jupiter, Pioneer 11 would continue on to become the first spacecraft to fly past Saturn, which it accomplished in 1979.

Public viewing at the 16-inch reflector on top of Robert Lee Moore Hall is on Wednesday night 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 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. 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. .

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.

This week will be the final week of viewing on UT campus telescopes for the fall semester. Spring viewing will resume in late January.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers Report.