Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday July 8th through Sunday July 14th.
The new moon for the month of July is on Monday the 8th so we will have a waxing crescent moon in the early evening skies for all of this week.
Mercury is at inferior conjunction with the sun on Tuesday the 9th so it will pass between the Earth and the Sun and move from our evening skies into our morning skies.
Venus is in the west-northwest after sunset and is setting at 10:15 p.m. at midweek. Look for a very thin crescent moon to the lower left of Venus on Wednesday evening.
Saturn is still visible up in the south at nightfall and is setting at 2:00 a.m.
Mars is up in the east at 5:00 a.m., about an hour and a half before the sun. Following behind is Jupiter at 5:30 a.m., about an hour before sunrise.
Last Sunday marked the 10th anniversary of the launch of the Mars Exploration Rover "Opportunity", just a few weeks after its twin "Spirit". But unlike Spirit, Opportunity continues to operate on the surface of the Red Planet and is currently making its way towards Solander Point where it will examine rock layers and be on a favorable slope for solar power during the Martian winter. You can follow the continuing adventures of the Opportunity Rover at marsrovers.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.