skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for April 17th through the 23rd.

The moon is at third quarter late on Thursday night.

There are lots of planets to see in both the early and late evening skies, as well as the morning hours before dawn. Mars is the first to set, ducking below the horizon at 1 a.m. Saturn is close to overhead as the sky darkens and sets at 3:00 a.m. Jupiter rises at 9:15 p.m. this week and sets after sunrise. In the morning hours, Venus and Uranus are rising at around 5:00 a.m. If you’ve never seen the first modern planet, this week is a good opportunity since Venus points the way to Uranus. The two planets are separated by less than half a degree for the first few days of the week. If you are in a very dark location, you may even be able to spot Uranus with the naked eye. It is an easy target with binoculars, just below and to the right of Venus on Tuesday morning.

This weekend is the peak of Lyrid meteor shower. The meteors should be most active on Saturday night, with the potential of over a meteor a minute. The shower appears to come from a point in the constellation Lyra, near the border with Hercules. Lyra is up in the northeast at around 10 p.m.

Public viewing at the Painter Hall telescope is on Fridays and Saturdays from 8 to 10 p.m. Painter Hall is located on 24th street about halfway between Speedway and Guadalupe.

The telescope at Robert Lee Moore Hall is open to the public on Wednesday nights from 8 to 10 p.m. RLM is located on the southeast corner of Dean Keeton and Speedway. Take the elevators to the 17th floor and follow the signs to the telescope.

All events are free and open to all ages and no reservations are required. Note that star party times and availability change throughout the year. Please call this recording before planning a visit to the telescopes. Observing events are weather permitting. Please call 232-4265 for weather cancellation information, which is updated 30 to 60 minutes before viewing start time only on nights when star parties are cancelled.

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