skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday April 4th through Sunday April 10th.

The new moon for the month of April occurs on Thursday morning so we'll have a waning crescent moon for the first half of the week and a waxing crescent moon for the remainder of the week. This new moon also occurs near perigee, the moon's closest point to earth in its orbit, so there will be higher than usual tides that day.

Mercury is emerging from the sun's glare and is setting a little over an hour after the sun, so you might be able to glimpse it if you have a good view of the western horizon.

Jupiter continues to dominate the early evening skies and is visible for most of the night.

Mars is rising at 11:35 p.m. at midweek and will start to grow quickly in brightness and angular size as it heads towards closest approach to Earth next month.

Saturn is rising at 12:15 a.m. and is now up for several hours for observation in dark skies.

Venus is rising at 6:35 a.m., about 40 minutes before sunrise, so it might be difficult to pick out from the glow of dawn.

In space anniversaries this week, Thursday the 7th marks 15 years since the launch of the Mars Odyssey orbiter. The spacecraft entered orbit around Mars on October 23rd 2001 and continues to operate around the Red Planet, where it holds the record for the longest serving spacecraft at Mars.

Public viewing at the 16-inch reflector on top of Robert Lee Moore Hall is on Wednesday nights currently 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 currently 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 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.