skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for Monday June 29th through Sunday July 5th.

The moon is at first quarter on Monday the 29th so we will have a waxing gibbous moon all of this week.

Saturn is in the west-southwest skies after sunset and sets at 12:30 a.m. Jupiter is now rising at 11:15 p.m. with the much fainter Neptune a little over half a degree away. Uranus is rising at 12:40 a.m. and can be found with binoculars or a small telescope.

You will still need to get up early or stay up late to catch the remainder of the naked eye planets. Mars is rising at 3:30 a.m., with Venus following at 3:45 a.m. The Pleiades open star cluster is also near-by. Mercury is rising at 5:30 a.m. at midweek and continues to rise a little later each morning.

On Friday the 3rd, at about 3:00 a.m. here in Texas, the Earth will be at aphelion, which is the Earth’s farthest point from the sun it its orbit. At this point the Earth is about 3.4% farther from the sun than it is at perihelion (the closest point) which occurred on January 4th this year.

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 and have a happy and safe July 4th weekend!