Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday January 23rd through Sunday January 29th.
The first New Moon of 2017 occurs on the night of Friday the 27th into the morning hours of the 28th. We'll have a waning crescent moon in the pre-dawn skies for the work week and a very slim waxing crescent moon low in the west right after sunset this weekend.
Venus is still very easy to spot in the evening twilight high in the west-southwest and is setting at 9:40 p.m. this week. Mars is still above and slight to the left of Venus and is setting at 10:05 p.m. this week.
Jupiter is rising at 11:45 p.m. at midweek, so it is now officially rising before midnight.
Saturn is rising at 4:30 a.m. this week, about three hours before the sun. Look for the waning crescent moon near Saturn early on Tuesday morning.
Mercury is rising at 6:00 a.m. this week, about 90 minutes before the sun. The waning crescent moon will be above Mercury on Wednesday morning and below on Thursday morning.
In space anniversaries this week, Friday January 27th marks the 50th anniversary of the loss of Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee during a test of their Apollo 1 capsule. You can learn more about the astronauts and the Apollo program at the history.nasa.gov/apollo.htm
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 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.