Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday January 2nd through Sunday January 8th.
The moon is at first quarter on Thursday January 5th so we'll start the week, and the new year, with a waxing crescent moon and end the week with a waxing gibbous moon.
Venus is hard to miss in the southwest at nightfall, shining brightly at magnitude -4.4 even though only a little over half of its disc is illuminated. Venus is setting at 9:25 p.m. at midweek.
Mars is above and slightly to the left of Venus and is setting at 10:15 p.m. this week. Look for the crescent moon between Venus and Mars on Monday night.
Jupiter is now rising just after 1:00 a.m. and is up high in the south-southeast by dawn.
Saturn is up at 5:45 a.m. this week as it begins to move farther from the sun after conjunction late last year.
Mercury is rising at 6:15 a.m., a little over an hour before the sun.
The first meteor shower of the year, the Quadrantids, peaks on January 3rd and unlike many of the showers of last year, this one won't have too much interference from moonlight. The Quadrantids get their name from a constellation that is no longer in use, but they appear to come from a spot in the current constellation Bootes. At its peak, this shower can produce up to 120 meteors an hour.
Public viewing on UT campus telescopes has finished for the fall semester. Spring semester viewing will start in late January. Please check back for details on starting dates and times.
Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers Report.