skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for Monday June 15th through Sunday the 21st.

The moon is at third quarter on Monday the 15th so we will have a waning crescent moon all week. Look for the moon to team up with Mars and Venus in the couple of hours before dawn on the 19th. Look for Mercury rising about an hour and a half before the sun this week. Jupiter is rising shortly before midnight this week. Saturn is still visible in the southwest at dusk and it setting at 1:15 a.m. at midweek.

The summer solstice for the northern hemisphere is at 5:45 a.m. universal time on Sunday June 21st. That translates to 12:45 a.m. here in Texas. The summer solstice occurs when the sun reaches its farthest point north of the celestial equator and it will make the largest arc across the sky that day, giving us the largest amount of daylight. From the 21st on, the nights will start to slowly get longer until we reach the winter solstice in December. For our friends in the southern hemisphere, the opposite is true and they are now starting winter and will experience the shortest amount of daylight of the year.

The Space Shuttle Endeavour was unable to launch on the morning of Saturday June 13th due to a leak associated with the gaseous hydrogen venting system outside the shuttle’s external tank. A decision will be made on Monday of this week as to when the shuttle will make its next launch attempt. The decision is complicated by the anticipated launch of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and the relative launch windows of the two missions. You can learn about both missions at www.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.