Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday May 11th through Sunday May 31st.
The moon is at third quarter on Monday May 11th and will reach new moon late on the night of Sunday the 17th. The moon will be at first quarter on Monday May 25th and will be in waxing gibbous phase for the remainder of that week.
After reaching greatest eastern elongation on May 7th, Mercury is now sinking back towards the sun a little each night until it is in inferior conjunction with the sun on May 30th.
Mars is setting just 45 minutes after the sun in mid-May and will be setting just 15 minutes after the sun at the end of the month as it heads toward conjunction in mid-June. Mars and Mercury will pass near each other on Tuesday May 26th, but will be too close to the sun to see.
Venus continues to shine brightly in the west-northwest at sundown and continues to climb a little higher each night through the end of May as it heads towards greatest elongation in early June. Venus is setting at around 11:45 p.m. for the rest of May. Look for the crescent moon alongside Venus on Thursday the 21st.
Jupiter is starting to make its way over towards Venus in the western skies after sunset and the two bright planets will slowly converge over the next month and a half. Jupiter is setting at 2:10 a.m. in mid-May and at 1 a.m. by the end of the month. Look for the crescent moon near Jupiter on the weekend of May 23rd and 24th.
Over in the east, Saturn is at opposition on the night of Friday May 22nd and will rise at sunset and set at sunrise. Saturn will be a great target for summer skywatchers this year.
Public viewing on UT campus telescopes has finished for the spring semester. Summer viewing will resume in mid-June. Please check back for details on starting dates and times.
Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers Report.