skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday April 11th through Sunday April 17th.

The moon is at first quarter late on Wednesday night so we'll start the week with a waxing crescent moon and finish with a waxing gibbous moon.

Mercury is setting an hour and a half after the sun, so you should be able to catch it in the late evening twilight if you have a good view of the western horizon.

Jupiter still dominates the eastern skies at sundown and sets at 5:20 a.m.

Both Mars and Saturn are now rising before midnight, with Mars up at 11:15 p.m. and Saturn following at 11:45 p.m. The red-orange star Antares is still nearby to form a small triangle with the two planets.

Venus is rising at 6:30 a.m. this week, just 35 minutes before sunrise.

In space anniversaries this week, Tuesday April 12th marks the 55th anniversary of the first human spaceflight when cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in the then Soviet Union. 20 years later to the day, the first Space Shuttle spaceflight occurred when John Young and Robert Crippen launched onboard the shuttle Columbia from Pad 39-A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

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.