Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday July 9th through Monday July 16th.
The new moon for the month of July is late on Thursday the 12th so we'll have a waning crescent moon for the first part of the week and a waxing crescent moon in the early evening skies this weekend. There will be a partial solar eclipse with this new moon, but only small areas of Australia, New Zealand, and Antarctica will see it. This new moon also occurs at perigee, the moon's closest point to the Earth, so there will be extra high tides that day.
Mercury is at its greatest elongation on Wednesday night into Thursday morning, so this will be a good week to try to spot it. Mercury is setting at 10:05 p.m. at midweek and a very thin crescent moon will be above Mercury on Saturday the 14th.
Venus is shining brightly in the west at sunset and is setting at 11:00 p.m. Look for the bright star Regulus of the constellation Leo near Venus this week and a thin crescent moon will be next to Venus on Sunday night.
Saturn is now up in the southeast at nightfall is setting at 5:30 a.m.
Mars is rising at 9:50 p.m. at midweek and it up to magnitude -2.6 in brightness and 23 arcseconds in angular size as it continues to move closer to the Earth before its closest approach at the end of the month.
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.