Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for Monday April 27th through Sunday May 3rd.
The moon is first quarter on Friday May 1st so we will have a waxing crescent moon in the evening skies for most of the week.
Mercury is still relatively high in the west after sunset, so this is a good week to try to see it if you have a good view of the lower western skies. Mercury will paired with the Pleiades star cluster, often referred to as the Seven Sisters, all this week. Look for the setting constellations of Orion and Canis Major just to the south of Mercury and the open clusters of Taurus.
Saturn continues to be high in the southeast as the skies darken and sets at about 4:30 a.m. Jupiter is rising in the east about an hour before Saturn sets, leading the line of planets visible in the morning skies in the couple of hours before dawn. Venus is rising a little before 5 a.m. at midweek and Mars follows around 20 minutes later.
Public viewing at the 16-inch reflector on top of Robert Lee Moore Hall is on Wednesday nights currently 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 currently 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 of public viewing for the spring semester. Summer viewing will start in 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.