skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for Monday April 19th through Sunday the 25th.

The moon is at first quarter on Wednesday the 21st so there will be a waxing crescent moon for the first part of the week and a waxing gibbous moon for the remainder of the week. Look for Mars alongside the moon on the 21st as well. The moon will be above Saturn on the 24th and below it on the 25th.

Venus is still shining brightly low in the west in the early evening and getting a little higher each evening. Look for Venus alongside the Pleiades open star cluster this weekend. Mercury continues to drop lower each night as it heads towards conjunction with the sun next week. Jupiter is now rising at about 5 a.m. so it is higher in the pre-dawn twilight now.

This Saturday is the 20th anniversary of the launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery carrying the Hubble Space Telescope to orbit. The telescope itself was deployed on the 25th. After the initial deployment, 5 space shuttles have worked on the telescope to repair and replace various parts and instruments, including the COSTAR corrective optics package installed in 1993 to fix a mirror flaw. You can stay up to date with research and images from the Hubble at www.hubblesite.org

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 viewing start time when a viewing is cancelled.

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