Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for May 5th through the 26th.
The moon is at first quarter phase on the 9th. The full moon for the month of May will be on the 15th. This full moon is known as the Milk Moon or the Planting Moon. The moon will be at last quarter on May 22nd.
On May 7th, observers in Asia, Europe and Africa will be able to see Mercury transit the sun. The website spaceweather.com will have coverage of the event for those of us who will not be able to observe it.
With the May 15th full moon, observers will also be treated to a lunar eclipse. For us here in Austin, the moon will be rising in the east as the eclipse begins. About an hour after rising, the moon will enter the umbra, or darkest part of the Earth's shadow. Totality will be a little after 10 p.m. and will last for about an hour.
Saturn continues to sink lower in the west each evening and will soon be disappearing into the sun's glare after a magnificent showing this spring. Jupiter is high in the west and will be near the moon on the night of the 8th. Look for Mars near the moon in the morning hours of the 21st and 22nd in the east a few hours before dawn.
This will be the final week of spring semester public viewing. Summer viewing will start in June.
The telescope at Robert Lee Moore Hall is open to the public on Wednesday nights starting at 8:30 p.m. RLM is located on the southeast corner of Dean Keeton and Speedway. Take the elevators to the 17th floor and follow the signs to the telescope.
The telescope at Painter hall is open on Fridays for UT students, faculty and staff from 8:30 to 9:30 and Saturdays are open to the general public from 8:30 to 10:30. Painter Hall is located on 24th street about half way between Speedway and Guadalupe.
All events are free and open to all ages and no reservations are required. Observing events are weather permitting.
Please note that star party times change throughout the year. Please call this recording to check times before planning a visit to the telescopes.