skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday April 8th through Sunday April 14th.

The new moon for the month of April is on Wednesday the 9th, so we will start the week with a waning crescent moon and finish with a waxing crescent moon.

Mars and Venus are clustered close to the sun and are lost in its glare this week.

Jupiter is still high in the west in the early evenings and is setting at midnight at midweek. Look for the crescent moon next to Jupiter on Sunday night.

Saturn is rising a little after 9 p.m. at midweek and is visible for the remainder of the night.

Mercury is rising an hour before the sun at midweek, so you might be able to find it in the glow of the pre-dawn sky this week.

With Mars heading towards conjunction with the sun next week, communication with the various spacecraft on and around the planet will be lost for a few weeks. The Curiosity and Opportunity rovers have been sent a series of tasks that they can carry out without additional instructions from Earth which they will do until communication comes back around May 1st. You can keep up with all of NASA's current spacecraft at Mars online at mars.jpl.nasa.gov

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. 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.