Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for Monday July 13th through Sunday the 19th.
The moon is at third quarter on Wednesday the 15th, so the evenings will be moon-free this week. The moon will be next to Mars in the morning hours of Saturday the 18th and will be to the left of Venus on the 19th.
Saturn is still visible in the western skies at evening twilight and is setting at 11:30 p.m. at midweek. Jupiter is rising at about 10 p.m. this week. If you have a small to medium-sized telescope, Neptune will be a little over half a degree away.
Mercury is at superior conjunction with the sun on the night of the 13th. It will be passing behind the sun from our point of view and will re-emerge in the evening skies in the next few weeks.
NASA will try again to launch the space shuttle Endeavour this week after it was delayed twice last month due to a hydrogen leak and delayed last week due to weather, including a lightning strike on the launch pad. You can watch the launch and learn more about the mission at 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. 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. 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.