Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for January 14th through the 21st.
The moon is at first quarter phase on the 21st.
The very slight crescent moon is just below Mercury at sunset on the 14th, and just above the innermost planet on the 15th.
Venus is in superior conjunction with the sun on the 14th, so it appears behind the sun from our point of view.
Saturn is still near the V shaped Hyades cluster which makes up the head of Taurus the Bull. Jupiter is the bright object to the left of Orion in the east at sunset.
Last week, the 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft successfully completed its aerobraking phase and is now ready to begin its primary mission to investigate the chemical make-up of Mars, to search for signs of water and to study at the radiation environment. To follow this mission and others at the red planet, go to mars.jpl.nasa.gov
The telescope at Robert Lee Moore hall is open to the public on Wednesday nights at 7 p.m. The building is located on the southeast corner of Dean Keeton (formerly 26th street) and Speedway. Take the elevator to the 17th floor and follow the signs to the telescope.
The telescope at Painter hall is open on Fridays for UT students, faculty and staff from 7 to 8 p.m. and Saturdays are open to the general public from 7 to 9 p.m. Painter Hall is located on 24th street about half way between Speedway and Guadalupe.
All events are free and open to all ages and no reservations are required. Observing events are weather permitting.
Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers' report.