Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for Monday June 4th through Sunday June 10th.
The moon is at third quarter on Friday the 8th. Look for a crescent moon next to Mars in the morning skies of the 10th and 11th. Mars is rising at about 3:15 a.m. this week and it at its closest point to the sun, called perihelion, early this week.
The evening skies are still full of planets. Mercury is the lowest of the bunch in the west-northwest skies and is now sinking a little lower each night, setting at 10 p.m. at the end of the week. Venus is above Mercury and is the brightest of the planets in our sky. Venus reaches its greatest elongation on the 9th and then will begin to slowly sink each night after climbing higher and higher each night for several months. Saturn is up above Venus and looks like a creamy-white star. Saturn is setting at about 12:30 a.m. this week. Jupiter is at opposition on the 5th, so it will be rising at sunset and will be visible all night long.
Late last week a new large sunspot rotated onto the earth-facing side of the sun and has already produced some moderate solar flares. As always, you can follow solar activity and how it affects the earth at spaceweather.com
Public viewing at the 16-inch reflector on top of Robert Lee Moore Hall is on Wednesday nights from 9 to 10:30 p.m. RLM is located on the southeast corner of Dean Keeton and Speedway. Take the elevator to the 17th floor and follow the signs to the telescope.
Public viewing at the 9 inch refractor at Painter Hall is on Friday and Saturday nights from 9 to 10:30 p.m. Painter Hall is located on 24th street about halfway between Speedway and Guadalupe and is northeast of the UT Tower.
All events are free and open to all ages and no reservations are required. Note that viewing times and availability change throughout the year. Observing events are weather permitting. Please call 232-4265 for weather cancellation information, which is updated 30 to 60 minutes before viewing start time on nights when public viewing is cancelled.
Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report.