Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday June 26th through Sunday July 9th.
The moon will be at first quarter on the night of Friday the 30th and then we'll have a waxing gibbous moon until the full moon for the month of July occurs late on the night of Saturday the 8th. The full moon for the month of July is known as the Hay Moon and the Thunder Moon.
Mercury is emerging from conjunction and is low in the west-northwest shortly after sunset, but is lost in the sun's glare for most of the beginning of July. Mars is nearby and is sinking towards the sun and is also lost in the sun's glare.
Jupiter is up in the southwest in the early evening and is setting at 1:40 a.m. on July 1st. Look for Jupiter near the moon on the nights of Friday June 30 and Saturday July 1.
Saturn is up in the southeast at sunset and is visible for most of the remainder of the night. Look for Saturn near the moon on the night of Thursday July 6.
Venus is up in the morning skies and is rising at 3:45 a.m. on July 1.
The earth is at aphelion on Monday July 3, marking its farthest point from the sun for this year. The earth was at perihelion on January 4 when it was about 5 million kilometers closer to the sun.
In space anniversaries, Tuesday July 4 marks the 20th anniversary of the landing of the Mars Pathfinder mission carrying Sojourner, the first Mars rover. After the landing, the area where Pathfinder touched down was renamed the Carl Sagan Memorial Station. The mission operated for nearly three months, exceeding its planned duration.
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.
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 and have a happy and safe Independence Day Holiday.