skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for Monday May 3rd through Sunday the 9th.

The moon is at third quarter on the night of Wednesday the 5th, so we will have a waning gibbous moon for the first part of the week and a waning crescent for the remainder of the week. Look for the moon and Jupiter to pair up in the morning skies before dawn on Sunday the 9th.

Venus is still very bright in the west at sundown and is setting at around 10:30 p.m. Mars is high in the southwest in the early evenings at is setting at 2:30 a.m. Mars' angular size is now about half what it was at closest approach in late January. Saturn is high in the southeast after sunset and is setting at 4:30 a.m. Saturn's rings are still fairly edge-on, so you might be able to see the shadow of the rings on the disk of the planet with a small to medium-sized telescope.

The eta Aquarid meteor shower peaks in the morning hours of Thursday the 6th, but the nearby moon will interfere with viewing. The eta Aquarids are caused by the Earth passing through debris left in orbit by Halley's Comet.

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.

This week is the final week of UT telescope 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.