Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday July 17th through Sunday July 23rd.
The moon was at third quarter on Sunday the 16th and will reach the new phase on Sunday the 23rd, so we'll have a waning crescent moon for all of this week.
Mars is now completely lost in the sun's glare as it heads towards conjunction next week.
Mercury is visible low in the west after sunset and is setting just a little before 10 p.m. at midweek, about 90 minutes after the sun.
Jupiter is in the southwest at nightfall and is setting at 12:30 a.m. this week.
Saturn is in the south-southeast as the sky darkens after sunset and is setting at 4:10 a.m. this week.
Venus is rising at 3:50 a.m. and is up in the east as the sky brightens before sunrise. A very thin crescent moon will be next to Venus on the morning of Thursday July 20th.
In space anniversaries, Saturday July 22nd marks 45 years since the landing of the Soviet Venera 8 probe on the surface of Venus. The probe survived the treacherous descent through the thick and poisonous Venusian atmosphere and operated for 50 minutes on the surface before failing. The Venera 8 probe was not equipped with a camera, so the first images from the surface of Venus wouldn't come until the Venera 9 mission in 1975.
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.