skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for Monday April 26th through Sunday May 2nd.

The full moon for the month of April is on Wednesday the 28th, so we will have a waxing gibbous moon for the first part of the week and a waning gibbous moon after it is full. The full moon of April is known as the Egg Moon or the Grass Moon.

Mercury is no longer visible in the western skies and is in inferior conjunction with the sun on Wednesday the 28th. After conjunction, Mercury will slowly climb into the morning skies ahead of sunrise during the month of May.

Venus is climbing higher each evening and is shining brightly between the well-known open clusters of Taurus - the Pleiades (also known as the Seven Sisters) and the V-shaped Hyades. Mars is high in the southwest and Saturn is high in the southeast at sundown. Jupiter is rising at 4:45 a.m. at midweek.

Last week mission scientists debuted the first light images from the Solar Dynamics Observatory which has begun to observe the sun in unprecedented detail. You can see the images and movies at www.nasa.gov/sdo

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.