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Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday September 25 through Sunday October 1.

The full moon for the month of September is on the morning of Friday September 29th so we’ll start the week with a waxing gibbous moon and then have a waning gibbous moon for the weekend. This full moon is known as the Fruit Moon and the Green Corn Moon. And, as the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox, it is this year’s Harvest Moon.

Mars is very low in the west after sunset and is setting at 8:05 p.m. at midweek as it heads towards conjunction with the sun in mid-November.

Over in the east, Saturn rises at 5:45 p.m. and sets at 4:55 a.m. so it is visible for most of the night. A few hours later, Jupiter rises at 9:10 p.m. as it continues to move towards opposition in early November. Look for Jupiter next to the moon on Sunday night.

In the morning skies, Venus rises at 4:05 a.m., now over three hours before the sun. Mercury is rising at 6:10 a.m., about one hour before the sun.

In space anniversaries this week, Sunday October 1 marks 65 years of National Aeronautics and Space Administration operations after it was established by Congress in July of 1958. After the launch of Sputnik by the Soviet Union the year before, the US decided to split the civilian and military space efforts and NASA was created as the civilian space agency. NASA succeeded the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, which had been established in 1915, 12 years after the Wright Brothers flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

Public viewing at the 16-inch reflector on top of the Physics, Math, and Astronomy building is on Wednesday nights currently from 8 to 10 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.

Public viewing at the 9-inch refractor at Painter Hall is on Friday and Saturday nights currently from 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. Take the elevator to the 5th floor then take the stairs up to the 6th floor 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.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers Report.