skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday April 1st through Sunday April 7th.

The moon is at third quarter late on the night of Tuesday April 2nd and we will have a waning crescent moon for the remainder of the week.

Venus and Mars are clustered near the sun, which sets at 7:50 p.m. at midweek, so you can't see them with the unaided eye right now. But you can see them if you look at coronagraph images taken by spacecraft that study the sun, such as the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory.

Jupiter is still high in the west at sundown and is setting at 12:20 a.m. at midweek. Saturn is rising in the east-southeast at 9:35 p.m. and is visible for the remainder of the night.

Mercury is rising at 6:10 a.m. at midweek so you will probably be able to pick it out from the light of dawn for most of this week.

Friday April 5th marks the 40th anniversary of the launch of the Pioneer 11 mission which became the first spacecraft to fly past Saturn. NASA continued to communicate with the spacecraft until 1995 when the signal was lost and the mission was declared finished nearly 22 and a half years after launch.

Public viewing at the 16-inch reflector on top of Robert Lee Moore Hall is on Wednesday nights now from 8:30 to 10:30 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 now from 8:30 to 10:30 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.