skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for Monday June 30th through Sunday July 6th.

The moon is new on Wednesday night, so we will have a waning crescent moon for the first half of the week and a waxing crescent in the western skies after sunset the second half of the week.

Mars, Saturn and the star Regulus are still grouped together in the western skies and will draw closer together as the week progresses. On the 6th, a crescent moon will join the trio. The group will set a little after 11 p.m. this week.

Jupiter is rising at about 9 p.m. this week and will be visible for the rest of the night. Mercury is at its greatest elongation west in the morning skies on July 1st and is rising a little after 5 a.m. Venus is still very close to the sun, setting just half an hour after it.

June 30th is the 100th anniversary of the famous Tunguska event, a massive explosion near the Tunguska River in Siberia. The power of the explosion was equivalent to between 10 and 15 megatons of TNT, making it about 1000 times more powerful than the Hiroshima atomic bomb. The explosion knocked over trees, but did not leave an obvious crater, like Meteor Crater in Arizona. The likely culprit for the explosion is an air burst of a meteoroid or a fragment of a comet.

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.

There will be no Painter Hall viewing this week due to the July 4th holiday. The regular viewing schedule will resume next week.

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 great July 4th holiday!