skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for April 1st to the 7th

The moon is at last quarter on Thursday the 4th. Looking west at sunset, you can see four planets in a line along the plane of the solar system. Lowest and brightest is Venus. A little above that is Mars, followed by Saturn and brilliant Jupiter at the highest almost overhead.

Comet Ikeya-Zhang which is still visible to the naked eye in dark locations low in the west at sunset makes a close pass by the Andromeda Galaxy this week, presenting a great opportunity to astrophotographers. The comet and galaxy will be at their closest point on April 4th, but will still be quite close together on the 3rd and 5th. Finder charts are available at www.spaceweather.com and www.stardate.org. Ikeya-Zhang is thought to be the reappearance of a comet which last passed close to the earth in 1661.

Don't forget to move your clocks forward before going to bed on Saturday night as we make the move on to daylight saving time.

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 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. and Saturdays are open to the general public from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Painter Hall is located on 24th street about half way between Speedway and Guadalupe.

Please note that star party times will be changing next week due to daylight saving time. Please call this recording to check times before planning a visit to the telescopes.

All events are free and open to all ages and no reservations are required. Observing events are weather permitting.