Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday April 25 through Sunday May 1.
The moon was at third quarter late on Sunday the 24th and won't reach new until May 3rd, so we will have a waning crescent moon all of this week.
Saturn is now up in the east-southeast as the sky darkens after sunset and is up for most of the night, setting around 6 a.m.
Most of the planets are now up in the morning shortly before the sun so as the crescent moon moves towards new next week it will pass by several planets. On Wednesday, the moon will be alongside Neptune. On the 29th it will be above Uranus, and alongside the 7th planet on the 30th. Below the Moon and Uranus on the 30th is Venus, followed by Mercury. If you have a very good view of the eastern horizon and really sharp eye, perhaps aided by binoculars, you might be able to see a very thin crescent moon with Venus and Mercury to its right and Mars and Jupiter right below. Also that morning, Mars and Jupiter will be less than half a degree apart from one another and visible in the same field of view in some small telescopes.
The space shuttle Endeavour is scheduled to lift-off on its final mission this Friday and dock with the International Space Station to deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, a particle physics experiment and spare parts for the station. You can learn more about the mission at www. nasa.gov
Public viewing at the 16-inch reflector on top of Robert Lee Moore Hall is on Wednesday nights now 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 nights at the 9 inch refractor at Painter Hall are on Friday and Saturday now 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.
Next week will be the final week for the spring semester telescope viewing nights. Summer viewing will start in early June.
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.