skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for Monday July 14th through Sunday the 20th.

The moon is full on the mornig of Friday the 18th. The full moon for the month of July is known as the Hay moon and the Thunder moon.

Mars and Saturn are still close together in the western skies after the sun sets, but are now starting to drift farther apart from one another. Both will be setting around 11 p.m. this week. You may be able to glimpse Venus very low in the west-northwest after the sunsets this week. Venus continues to move higher each day and will become easier to see as we go through the remainder of the year. Jupiter is rising at about 8 p.m. at midweek. Look for Jupiter alongside the nearly-full moon on the 16th. Mercury is slowly sinking back towards the sun in the morning skies and is rising about an hour before the sun at midweek.

A couple of weeks ago the Cassini spacecraft celebrated four years in orbit around Saturn which was the completion of its primary mission. Cassini is now at the beginning of a two-year extended mission. The spacecraft has returned thousands of photographs of the Saturnian system which can be viewed online at saturn.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. 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.