skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for Monday April 14th through Sunday the 20th.

The moon is full on Sunday the 20th. The full moon for the month of April is known as the Egg Moon or the Grass Moon.

Mars is now further into the western skies in the evening hours now and is setting a little after 2 a.m. Saturn is high in the southeast at sunset. Look for the waxing gibbous moon above Saturn on Monday night and below Saturn on Tuesday night. Jupiter is still opposite Mars in our skies, so it is rising a little after 2 a.m. while Mars is setting.

Venus is now only about 15 degrees from the sun, so it hard to catch before the sun climbs over the eastern horizon. Mercury is in superior conjunction with the sun on Wednesday, so it will pass behind the sun from our point of view. Although we won’t be able to see Mercury with our unaided eyes for a while, spacecraft that monitor the sun, such as SOHO, will see it move through their field of view over the next few days.

Last week new highly detailed images of Mars’ moon Phobos taken by the HiRISE camera Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter were released, giving us some great new views of the small, rocky satellite. The camera took two images 10 minutes apart, allowing the team to create a stereo view, which you can see with blue/red 3-D glasses. You can see these images and all the latest from the multitude of spacecraft currently studying Mars at mars.jpl.nasa.gov You can go directly to the website for the HiRISE camera team at hirise.lpl.arizona.edu

Public viewing at the 16-inch reflector on top of Robert Lee Moore Hall is on Wednesday nights 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 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 start time when a viewing is cancelled.

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