skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday April 4th through Sunday April 17th.

The moon was new on the 3rd and will be at first quarter on Monday April 11th, so there will be a waxing crescent moon in the early evening skies for the week of April 4th and a waxing gibbous moon for the week of the 11th. The moon will be full on the night of Sunday the 17th. The full moon for April is known as the Egg Moon and the Grass Moon.

Jupiter is in conjunction with the sun on Wednesday the 6th and will pass from our evening skies into the morning skies. Jupiter will have emerged from the sun's glare enough to observe by early May.

Mercury is at inferior conjunction with the sun on Saturday the 9th. Like Jupiter, it will pass from the evening skies into the morning skies.

Saturn is rising a little after 7 p.m. on the 10th and will be visible almost all night. Saturn and the moon will pair up on the night of the 16th. Saturn will look like a creamy-white star to the upper left of the moon.

Venus is rising over an hour before the sun and appears as a bright object in the east southeast in the morning twilight. Mars is slowly emerging from the morning sun's glare, but is still not easily observable. 

Tuesday April 12th marks two milestones in human spaceflight. It was on that date 50 years ago that Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space. Twenty years later, the space shuttle Columbia launched on the first shuttle mission under the command of John Young and Robert Crippen. The anniversary of Gagarin's flight is celebrated annually with Yuri's Night parties around the globe. Log on to yurisnight.net for information on local events.

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 nights at the 9 inch refractor at Painter Hall are on Friday and Saturday 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.