Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday July 1st through Sunday July 7th.
The moon is new in the early morning hours of Monday July 8th, so we will have a waning crescent moon for all of this week.
On Friday July 5th, Earth is at aphelion, it's farthest point from the sun in its orbit.
Mercury is sinking back towards the sun as it heads towards conjunction next week so it is now lost in the sun's glare. Venus is visible low in the west after sunset and it setting at 10:15 p.m. at midweek. Look for Venus in the heart of the Beehive open star cluster on Wednesday night.
Saturn is high in the south as night falls and is setting at 2:30 a.m. at midweek. Mars is up about an hour and 20 minutes before the sun. Look for a very thin crescent moon near Mars on the morning of Saturday July 6th. Jupiter is rising just 45 minutes before the sun so it is lost in the morning twilight.
July 1st marks the 9th anniversary of the arrival of the Cassini spacecraft in orbit around Saturn where it continues to operate today. You can see all of the latest news and amazing images from Cassini at saturn.jpl.nasa.gov
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. Observing events are weather permitting. Please call 512-232-4265 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 Independence Day holiday.