skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for Monday June 22nd through Sunday June 28th.

The moon is new on Monday the 22nd, so we will see a waxing crescent moon in the evening skies.

Saturn is high in the west-southwest this week and it setting at 12:45 a.m. at midweek. Look for Saturn to the upper right of the moon on Saturday the 27th.

Jupiter is rising at 11:45 p.m. at midweek. If you have a decent sized telescope, you can catch Neptune less than a degree away. Venus and Mars are still paired up in the east in the morning skies, although the two planets are slowly separating. Mercury is low in the east-southeast and is sinking lower each morning as it heads towards its next conjunction with the sun.

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and the Lunar Crater Observatory and Sensing Satellite (known as LCROSS) launched together on an Atlas 5 rocket last week. LRO will reach the moon on June 23 and will map the moon for possible future landing sites and look for potential resources that can be used by future manned missions. The LCROSS mission will look for water ice in the permanent shadows of the moon’s polar craters. LCROSS will impact the moon and its debris plume will be studied for signs of water ice. You can learn more about both missions at nasa.gov under “current missions”.

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.