Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday May 2 to Sunday May 8th.
The new moon for the month of May is in the early morning hours of Tuesday the 3rd and we will have a waxing crescent moon for the remainder of the week.
Saturn is up in the southeast at 9:00 p.m. this week and is well placed for viewing all night. The four remaining naked-eye planets are up in the morning skies and clustered fairly close together in the hour or so before sunrise. Mars is the lowest of the quartet, with Jupiter next, followed by Mercury. Venus is the highest and brightest of the four. Mercury will be at its greatest elongation west on Saturday and will be one and a half degrees away from Venus on Sunday.
May 5th marks the 50th anniversary of the first American in space when Alan Shepard completed a 15-mintue sub-orbital flight in his Mercury capsule, named "Freedom 7". In current space news, the space shuttle Endeavour is now scheduled to lift-off on its final mission no sooner than May 8th after a problem was detected with the heaters on a fuel line for one of the Auxiliary Power Units last Friday, a few hours before the planned launch. You can keep up the news on a new launch date and 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 night 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 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.
This 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.