skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for Monday June 9th through Sunday the 15th.

The moon is at first quarter on Tuesday the 10th, so it will change from waxing crescent to waxing gibbous this week. The moon is to the left of Saturn on Monday high in the southwest. Saturn is setting at about 1 a.m. this week. Mars is high in the west at sunset and sets at 12:15 a.m. at midweek. Jupiter is rising at 10:30 p.m. this week and is visible the rest of the night.

Mercury passed between the Sun and us over the past weekend and is now moving into the morning sky and by the end of the week it will be rising about half an hour before the sun. Venus is in superior conjunction with the sun on Monday the 9th, meaning it will pass behind the sun from the Earth’s point of view. Venus will slowly begin to emerge in the evening skies although it will be about a month before it gets easier to see.

Following on the heels of a successful landing on Mars and the delivery of a new module to the International Space Station, NASA’s next spacecraft launch is set for this week. The Gamma-Ray Large Area Space Telescope, known by the acronym GLAST, is scheduled to launch on the 11th from Cape Canaveral on a Delta II rocket. GLAST will study a variety of objects in our universe including active galaxies, neutron stars, gamma-ray bursts, cosmic rays and supernova remnants. You can learn more about the mission on NASA’s website at nasa.gov.

Public viewing at the 16-inch reflector on top of Robert Lee Moore Hall is on Wednesday nights from 9:00 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 9:00 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. To get to the telescope, take the elevator to the 5th floor and exit to the left. Follow the 5th floor hallway to the end and take the staircase through the double doors on the left. Once you reach the 6th floor, go to your right and follow the signs up to the telescope.

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 the scheduled start time when a viewing is cancelled.

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