skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for May 6th through the 12th.

The new moon for the month of May is in the morning hours of the 12th.

The five planets visible to the naked eye will continue to be clumped together in the western sky after sunset for a couple of weeks. There isn't any one date that is the best to see these planets, although they will be grouped the closest, along with the moon, on May 14th.

Mars, Venus and Saturn continue to form a tight group low in the west after sunset. Venus is the brightest of the group and will help you pick out the other planets as twilight ends. If you watch these three planets throughout the week, you will see Mars and Venus draw closer together and Saturn move past them down and to the right. Mars and Venus will be separated but a mere .3 degrees on the 10th.

Jupiter is the bright planet much higher in the west than the other four. Mercury is the lowest of the planets, and will begin to set earlier and earlier each evening.

The telescope at Robert Lee Moore hall is open to the public on Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. The building is located on the southeast corner of Dean Keeton (formerly 26th street) and Speedway. Take the elevator 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 9:00 to 10:00 p.m. and Saturdays are open to the general public from 9:00 to 11:00 p.m. Painter Hall is located on 24th street about half way between Speedway and Guadalupe.

This week will be the final star parties for the spring. Summer viewing will resume in June.

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.