skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for Monday July 20th through Sunday the 26th.

The new moon for the month of July is late in the evening of Tuesday the 21st here in the US central time zone. For people on the other side of the planet, there will be an opportunity to see a total solar eclipse. The path of totality runs through the heart of India and China, including the city of Shanghai and then will continue over the Pacific Ocean. The maximum duration of totality for this eclipse is 6 and a half minutes, the longest of the 21st century.

Saturn is now relatively low in the west as the sky darkens after sunset and will be setting at 11 p.m. at midweek. Jupiter is rising at 9:45 p.m. at midweek. Over the past weekend, a black spot was observed on Jupiter. Preliminary observations were unable to tell if the spot was from weather or an impact, but infrared observations seem to support the impact idea. If an asteroid or comet did impact Jupiter, it would fall in the same week as the Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 impact 15 years ago. Mars is rising at about 3 a.m. and Venus is rising a little before 4 a.m. at midweek.

And of course, as I’m sure most of you are aware, Monday marks the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11, the first mission to land men on the moon. NASA has been celebrating the anniversary and among the festivities unveiled a preview of restored footage of the Apollo 11 mission. Find out more 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.