Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday January 30th through Sunday February 5th.
The moon is at first quarter late on Friday the 3rd so we'll have a waxing crescent moon for the first part of the week and a waxing gibbous moon for the weekend.
Venus continues to shine brightly in the west-southwest after sunset with Mars above and to the left. Venus is setting at 9:40 p.m. followed by Mars at 10:00 p.m. Look for the thin crescent moon near Venus and Mars on Tuesday evening.
Jupiter is rising at 11:15 p.m. at midweek as it makes its way towards opposition in early April.
Saturn rises at 4:10 a.m. this week and Mercury rounds out the naked eye planets, rising at 6:10 a.m., a little over an hour before the sun.
In space anniversaries, last week on January 25th, the Mars Opportunity Rover marked 13 years on the Red Planet where it continues to operate - now over 4000 days past its original mission plan. You can learn more about the mission at http://mars.nasa.gov/MER
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.