skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for July 1st through the 7th .

The moon is at third quarter on July 2nd.

Although they are barely visible on the western horizon at sunset, the planets Jupiter and Mars will be separated by less than a degree on Wednesday evening. Both planets will soon be passing behind the sun from our point of view. After going past conjunction with the sun, the planets will move into the early morning skies. Jupiter will return to our evening skies in the spring of 2003 and Mars will be at its best in the summer of 2003.

The bright object in the western sky is Venus, which sets around 11 p.m. this week.

In space exploration news, this week NASA will try to launch the CONTOUR mission. The mission will flyby the nuclei of two comets, Encke and Schwassmann-Wachmann 3, and collect and analyze dust from the comets. To learn more about the mission, go to www.contour2002.org

The telescope at Robert Lee Moore hall is open to the public on Wednesday nights at 9 p.m. The building is located on the southeast corner of Dean Keeton (formerly 26th street) and Speedway. Take the elevator to the 17th floor and follow the signs to the telescope.

The telescope at Painter hall is open on Fridays for UT students, faculty and staff from 9:00 to 10:00 p.m. and Saturdays are open to the general public from 9:00 to 11:00 p.m. Painter Hall is located on 24th street about half way between Speedway and Guadalupe.

All events are free and open to all ages and no reservations are required. Observing events are weather permitting.

Please note that star party times change throughout the year. Please call this recording to check times before planning a visit to the telescopes.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatcher's Report and have a happy and safe July 4th weekend!