Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for Monday May 10th through Sunday the 16th.
The new moon for the month of May is on Friday the 14th, so you will see a waning crescent moon in the morning before dawn for most of the work week. You may be able to catch a very thin waxing crescent moon in the evenings this weekend. You can use Venus as a guide to try to find the moon on Saturday, since the tiny crescent sliver will be just below the bright planet. On Sunday, the slightly larger crescent will be above Venus.
Mars is now high in the west as the sky darkens in the early evening and sets a little after 2 a.m. Saturn is high in the south-southeast and is setting at about 4 a.m.
Shortly before Saturn sets in the west, over in the eastern skies Jupiter will just be starting to peek above the horizon. Mercury is rising at 5:45 a.m. at midweek, about 45 minutes before the sun.
The space shuttle Atlantis is due to launch on Friday for what is expected to be its last trip in to space. The shuttle will be delivering to the International Space Station the Russian-built Mini Research Module 1 that will provide additional storage space and a new docking port for Russian Soyuz and Progress spacecraft. During its 25 years of flight, the shuttle Atlantis has flown 32 times, including 11 times to the International Space Station. Among the highlights of Atlantis' missions - the launch of the Magellan probe to Venus, the Galileo spacecraft that orbited Jupiter, the first docking to the Mir Space Station and the final service mission to the Hubble Space Telescope last year. You can watch the launch and follow the mission at www.nasa.gov
UT telescope public viewing has finished for the spring semester. Summer viewing will start in early June.
Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report.