skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for Monday May 4th through Sunday May 10th.

The full moon for the month of May is on Saturday the 9th, so we will have a waxing gibbous moon through most of the week. This full moon is known as the Milk Moon, the Flower Moon and the Corn Moon.

Saturn is about 10 degrees above the moon on Monday evening, high in the southeast after the sun sets. Look for Mercury low in the west-northwest shortly after sunset this week. It will be gradually sinking back towards the sun this week so it will be harder to catch as the week progresses. Jupiter, Venus and Mars are the planets up before dawn that are visible to the unaided eye. The telescopic planets of Uranus and Neptune are in the mix as well.

The Eta Aquarid meteor shower peaks on Wednesday of this week, although southern hemisphere observers will probably get the best show this year. The meteors will appear to come from a point near the star Eta Aquarii, in the constellation of Aquarius. The bright planet Jupiter is near by. The particles that cause this shower were left in earth’s orbital path by the most famous periodic comet, Halley’s Comet.

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.

This 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.