skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for April 8th through the 14th

The new moon occurs on the afternoon of the 12th.

Venus rises a little bit higher at sunset each evening. Saturn and Jupiter are still visible in the western skies as well as a faint planet Mars. Mercury just moved behind the sun from our point of view, but will emerge low in the west at sundown to join the other naked eye planets in a remarkable grouping late this month.

Comet Ikeya-Zhang is still visible in our skies and can now be glimpsed in the northeast before dawn, near the constellation Cassiopeia. Finder charts are available at www.spaceweather.com and www.stardate.org. The comet made close pass by the Andromeda Galaxy last week, presenting a great opportunity to astrophotographers, some of whom have posted their results on spaceweather.com.

The space shuttle Atlantis is due to launch this week on a mission to the International Space Station to continue the construction of the outpost. The mission can be followed on the web at spaceflight.nasa.gov

The telescope at Robert Lee Moore hall is open to the public on Wednesday nights at 8 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 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. and Saturdays are open to the general public from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. Painter Hall is located on 24th street about half way between Speedway and Guadalupe.

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

Please note that star party times change throughout the year. Please call this recording to check times before planning a visit to the telescopes.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers' report.