Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday July 10th through Sunday July 16th.
The moon was at full on Sunday the 9th and will reach third quarter on Sunday the 16th so we'll have a waning gibbous moon for all of this week.
Mars is now closing in on solar conjunction and is setting just 20 minutes after the sun. NASA will soon take a break in communicating with the various spacecraft at Mars since the close angle of Mars to the sun as seen from from Earth can potentially disrupt signals. To avoid the spacecraft receiving corrupted instructions, controllers on Earth will stop sending commands from July 20 to August 1 this year until Mars re-emerges on the other side of the sun.
Mercury is low in the west-northwest at sundown and is setting at 9:55 p.m., so you should be able to see it if you have a good view of the western horizon.
Jupiter is high in the southwest at nightfall and is setting just a little before 1 a.m. so there are still several hours of darkness to observe the gas giant.
Saturn is up in the south-southeast at sunset and sets at 4:40 a.m. at midweek.
Venus is up in the morning skies before dawn and is rising at 3:45 a.m., about three hours before the sun.
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 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.