skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for Monday July 12th through Sunday July 18th.

The moon is at first quarter on Sunday the 18th so we will be seeing it alongside several planets as it moves higher and higher in the west after sunset this week. You can see photos from last weekend's total solar eclipse now posted in the spaceweather.com eclipse gallery.

You may be able to catch Mercury and a very slim crescent moon very low in the west shortly after sunset on Monday. The crescent moon will be between Mercury and the very bright Venus on Tuesday and the moon will be below Venus on Wednesday. On Thursday, look for Mars and Saturn above the crescent moon and on Friday the moon will be to the left of all the western-sky planets. Jupiter is now rising around midnight after all of the early evening planets have set.

Last weekend, the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft did a fly-by of the asteroid Lutetia as part of its broader mission to orbit and place a lander on a comet in 2014. The spacecraft flew by Mars in 2007, the asteroid Steins in 2008, and has flown by the Earth three times since its launch in 2004. To see pictures from the spacecraft and learn more about its mission, log on to

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 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.