skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday July 18th through Sunday July 24th

The full moon for the month of July is on Tuesday the 19th and then we'll have a waning gibbous moon for the rest of the week. The full moon for July is known as the Hay Moon and the Thunder Moon.

Mercury and Venus continue to move away from the sun in the early evening so you might be able to catch them shortly after sunset with a good view of the western horizon. Venus is setting at 9:15 p.m. at midweek, followed by Mercury at 9:30 p.m.

Jupiter is still visible in the west at sundown, but is getting lower and lower each week. Jupiter is setting at 11:10 p.m. this week.

Mars continues to shine brightly in the south at sunset, looking like an orange-ish star. Mars is setting at 2:15 a.m. this week.

Saturn is to the left of Mars and is setting at 3:20 a.m. this week so you still have plenty of nighttime to observe it.

In space anniversaries this week, Wednesday July 20th marks the 40th anniversary of the Viking 1 lander touching down on Mars, become the first successful operational spacecraft on the Martian surface. The lander operated for a little over 4 years in the Chryse Planitia area of Mars.

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.