skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for May 8th through the 14th.

The full moon for the month of May is in the early morning hours of Saturday May 13th. The full moon in May is known as the Planting Moon or the Milk Moon. The moon will pull alongside Jupiter on the night of the 11th. Saturn and Mars are still visible in the western skies as darkness falls, with Saturn being the higher and brighter of the two.

Jupiter is rising around 7:30 p.m. this week and is the brightest object besides the moon in the evening skies. Venus is rising at about 4:45 in the morning and outshines Jupiter by about one and a half magnitudes.

Over the weekend, fragment C of the comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 passed by the Ring Nebula in the constellation Lyra. Some wonderful photos are available at www.spaceweather.com The comet was discovered in 1930 and was observed to have split into at least four fragments when it came through the inner solar system in 1995. One potential bonus from this disintegration is a possible meteor shower when the earth passes through the debris of the 1995 break-up. In the 2006 apparition the comet has further broken apart, with fragments B and G breaking into dozens of pieces. None of the large fragments are going to hit the earth when they reach perigee later this week, although the larger pieces should be bright enough to see in binoculars and small telescopes. More information and detailed finder charts are available at the www.skyandtelescope.com

There is currently no public viewing on the UT campus telescope. Summer viewing will start in June. Please call back in the next few weeks for more information.

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