Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday April 8 through Sunday April 14.
The moon is at first quarter on Friday the 12th so we'll have a waxing crescent moon in our early evening skies for the work week and start into the waxing gibbous phase this weekend.
Mars is still in the west at sundown and is still visible between the Pleiades and Hyades open star clusters this week and is setting at 11:30 p.m. Look for Mars a few degrees above the crescent moon on Monday night.
Jupiter is rising at 12:45 a.m. followed by Saturn at 2:30 a.m.
Venus is rising at 5:45 a.m. this week as it continues to slowly move back towards its next conjunction with the sun.
Mercury is at its greatest elongation west on Thursday when it will be rising at 6:00 a.m., a little over an hour before the sun.
In *future* space anniversaries this week, 5 years from this Monday, a total solar eclipse will be visible here in central Texas, including most of the Austin area. The path of totality stretches from the Pacific coast of Mexico, through Texas, across the US up to Maine, and through Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada. Austin is on the southern edge of the path of totality, so we will only get a little under 2 minutes of totality. Towns closer to the central path, such as Kerrville and Lampasas will see nearly 4 and a half minutes of totality.
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. Take the elevator to the 5th floor then take the stairs up to the 6th floor 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.