Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday July 31st through Sunday August 6th.
The moon was at first quarter on July 30th and will reach full on August 7th, so we will have a waxing gibbous moon for all of this week.
Mercury is low in the west at sunset and is setting at 9:30 p.m. at midweek, still over an hour after the sun.
Jupiter is bright in the southwest at sunset and is setting at 11:35 p.m.
Saturn is up in the south-southeast at sunset and is setting at 3:15 a.m. Look for Saturn below on the moon on Wednesday night and to the right of the moon on Thursday night.
Venus is shining brightly in the pre-dawn skies and is rising at 4:00 a.m. Look for the familiar shape of the constellation Orion to the right of Venus.
Mars is just emerging from conjunction with the sun and is currently lost in the sun's glare.
In space anniversaries, late Saturday August 5th into the early hours of Sunday August 6th marks five years since the landing of the Mars Science Laboratory and the Curiosity Rover at Gale Crater. You can keep tabs on Curiosity's activities at mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl
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.
Next week will be the final week of public viewing on UT campus telescopes for the summer. Fall semester viewing will start in early September.
Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers Report.