Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday April 7th through Sunday April 13th.
The moon is at first quarter early in the morning hours of Monday the 7th and won't reach full until next week, so we'll have a waxing gibbous moon for all of this week.
Jupiter continues to shine brightly in the west at sunset and is setting at 2:10 a.m. at midweek.
Mars is at opposition on Tuesday the 8th, so it will be rising at sunset and setting at sunrise that day. This also makes it the best time to see the Red Planet this year. Also, look for the moon near Mars on Sunday night, although it will be even closer on Monday of next week.
Saturn rises at 10:10 p.m. and will soon be back in our early evening skies as it heads towards opposition next month.
Venus is still visible as the "morning star" and is rising at 5 a.m. Mercury rises at 6:35 a.m. at midweek, just 35 minutes before the sun as it heads towards conjunction in a couple of weeks.
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 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.