Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday June 3rd through Sunday June 9th.
The new moon for the month of June is on Saturday the 8th, so we will have a waning crescent moon in the morning skies for most of this week.
Jupiter, Venus, and Mercury start the week still in a line in the west-northwest just after sunset. Jupiter is now setting just 40 minutes after the sun at midweek. Venus is a little higher and is setting at 9:55 p.m. at midweek, followed by Mercury at 10:15 p.m.
On Tuesday evening Venus will be in the heart of the open star cluster M35 setting up a nice opportunity for astrophotographers.
Saturn is high in the southeast as night falls and sets at 4:25 a.m. so it is still visible for most of the night.
Mars is up in the morning skies and is gradually pulling away from the sun after emerging from conjunction a little over a month ago. Mars is rising about 45 minutes before the sun at midweek.
A few weeks ago the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity passed the 22.22 mile mark on its odometer which may not sound like a milestone. But with that distance it has now become the farthest total mileage driven by NASA vehicle on a world other than Earth. The previous record was set over 40 years ago by Gene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt when they drove around the surface of the moon in December 1972 during their Apollo 17 mission. You can keep up with all the missions on or orbiting Mars at mars.jpl.nasa.gov
Public viewing on UT campus telescopes will resume next week. Please check back for details on the starting dates and times.
Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers Report.