skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Tuesday January 22nd through Sunday January 27th.

The full moon for the month of January is on the night of Saturday the 26th. This full moon is known as the Old Moon, the Moon After Yule, or the Wolf Moon.

Mercury is just emerging from conjunction with the sun and is setting just 15 minutes after the sun at midweek.

Mars is still visible low in the west-southwest and is setting at 7:25 p.m. Jupiter is up in the east and is setting at 3:30 a.m.

In the skies after midnight, Saturn is rising at 1:20 a.m. and is visible until sunrise. Venus is now up about an hour before sunrise.

January 25th marks the 9th anniversary of the landing of the Rover Opportunity at Meridiani Planum, near the Martian Equator. The initial mission of Opportunity and its twin rover Spirit was planned for 90 Martian days, known as "sols".  Spirit became stuck in a sandy area in 2009 and ceased communications with Earth in 2010, but Opportunity continues to operate and report back with its findings. Opportunity is currently investigating the Cape York area of Endeavour Crater and is studying veins in a light-toned rock outcrop called "Whitewater Lake". You can see images and keep up with the rover's activity at http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov.

Public viewing at the 16-inch reflector on top of Robert Lee Moore Hall is on Wednesday nights currently 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 currently 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. Observing events are weather permitting. Please call 232-4265 for weather cancellation information, which is updated 30 to 60 minutes before the scheduled viewing start time when a viewing is cancelled.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers Report.