skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for Monday May 5th through Sunday the 11th.

The moon is new on Monday May 5th and will reach first quarter next Monday, so we will be seeing a waxing crescent moon in the western skies after sunset this week.

If you have a good view of the west-northwestern horizon on Tuesday evening, you might be able to catch Mercury and a very slim crescent moon. Mars is in the high western skies at sunset. Look for the crescent moon below Mars on the 9th and above Mars on the 10th.

Saturn is high in the south as the skies darken in the evening. Jupiter is rising about 45 minutes after midnight this week. Venus is rising only 20 minutes before the sun now.

If you saw any meteors streak through the sky on Monday morning, you were probably seeing a piece of Halley’s comet. The Eta Aquarid meteor shower peaks early this week, so you might be able to catch some in the hours before dawn on Tuesday as well.

As we head into summer, some constellations we haven’t seen in our early evening skies are starting to appear shortly after the sky darkens. The small constellation Lyra is now mostly above the horizon by 10 p.m. Besides the bright star Vega, there is the popular “double-double” star system, Epsilon Lyrae and the planetary nebula M57, commonly called the Ring nebula. Near the bottom of the constellation is the globular cluster M56 that is about 33,000 light years from our solar system.

Public viewing is finished for the spring semester. Summer viewing will resume in June. Please call back in the next few weeks for the starting dates and times.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report.