skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday June 27th through Monday July 4th.

The moon is at third quarter on Monday June 27th and will reach new on Monday July 4th, so we'll have a waning crescent moon for almost all of the week.

Monday July 4th also marks aphelion, or the point that the Earth is farthest from the sun in its orbit. On that day the Earth will be about 94 and a half million miles from the sun, compared to 91.4 million miles distant back in January when it was at perihelion.

Venus is slowly emerging from the sun's glare, but is still setting just half an hour after the sun.

Jupiter is now in the west-southwest at sundown and is setting at 12:30 a.m. by midweek.

Mars is now high in the south by 10 p.m. and is still quite bright and shows a small disc with some surface features in telescopes. Mars is setting at 3:30 a.m. this week.

Saturn is to the east of Mars and is setting at 4:45 a.m.

Mercury is about to be lost in the sun's glare as it heads towards conjunction next week and is rising about half an hour before dawn.

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 and have a happy and safe Independence Day holiday.