Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday July 2nd through Sunday July 8th.
The moon is at third quarter late on Thursday the 5th so we'll start the week with a waning gibbous moon and finish with a waning crescent moon.
Mercury is still low in the west at sunset and is setting at 10:10 p.m. so there is time to catch it with a good view of the western horizon.
Venus is high in the west at sunset and is setting at 11:05 p.m. If you look at Venus in a telescope you will currently see it only 68% illuminated.
Jupiter is high in the south at sunset and is setting at 2:50 a.m.
Saturn is now rising before sunset and is up in the southeast as the sky darkens after nightfall. Saturn is setting at 6:05 a.m. so it is still visible for most of the night.
Mars is rising at 10:20 p.m. and continues to grow in brightness and angular size as it heads towards closest approach to the Earth at the end of the month.
In space anniversaries this week, Saturday July 7th marks 15 years since the launch of the Mars rover Opportunity. The rover has been operating on Mars since landing in January 2004 but is currently in hibernation due to a large Martian dust storm.
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 Fridays and Saturdays 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. Take the elevator to the 5th floor and then take the stairs up to the 6th floor and follow the signs to the telescope.
Please arrive at RLM or Painter Hall before 10 p.m. to ensure access to the buildings.
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.