Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday January 4th through Sunday January 10th.
The first new moon of 2016 occurs on Saturday night into Sunday morning depending on your time zone so we'll have a waning crescent moon for all of this week.
Mercury is moving towards the sun in the early evening skies and is setting about an hour after the sun this week. Mercury will transit the Sun in May so stay tuned for more information about how to see this event and public viewing opportunities on the UT Austin campus.
Jupiter is rising at 10:45 p.m. at midweek so there are now many hours of darkness to observe it. Jupiter is moving towards opposition in early March when it will be at its finest in our skies for 2016.
Mars is rising at 1:50 a.m. as it slowly makes its way back to our evening skies heading towards opposition and closest approach to Earth in the second half of May.
Venus is rising at 4:45 a.m. followed closely by Saturn at 4:55 a.m. Saturn will be at opposition in early June this year and will be a fine object to observe all summer.
Venus, Saturn, and a thin crescent moon will make a nice grouping on Thursday morning. Venus and Saturn will continue to move close together until Saturday morning when they will be just one tenth of a degree apart.
Public viewing on UT campus telescopes will resume in late January. Please check back for details on starting dates and times.
Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers Report and Happy New Year!