skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday June 13th through Sunday June 19th.

The moon was at first quarter on Sunday the 12th and won't reach full until Monday the 20th, so we'll have a waxing gibbous moon for all of this week.

Venus is still lost in the sun's glare as it emerges from conjunction.

Jupiter is high in the southwest at sundown and is setting at 1:15 a.m., so there are still a few hours of darkness to observe our solar system's largest planet.

Mars is in the south-southeast as night falls and is still quite bright since we're only a couple of weeks past its closest approach to Earth. Look for Mars below the moon on Thursday night. Mars is setting at 4:30 a.m. this week.

Saturn is up in the southeast as the sky darkens and is setting at 5:45 a.m. so you can still see it for most of the night.

Mercury is still rising over an hour before the sun so you may be able to see it if you have a good view of the eastern horizon.

In space anniversaries this week, Sunday the 19th marks 40 years since the arrival of the Viking 1 orbiter in Mars orbit. This orbiter was the first of the 4 total spacecraft of the Viking program - two orbiters and two landers - to arrive at Mars.

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. this summer. 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. this summer. 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 so please check the schedule before planning a visit. Observing events are weather permitting. Please call 512-232-4265 for weather cancellation information, which is updated 30 to 45 minutes before the scheduled viewing start time.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers Report.