skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for Monday August 4th through Sunday August 10th.

After last week’s total solar eclipse, which you can see lots of great photos of at spaceweather.com, we will have a growing crescent moon this week until it reaches first quarter on Friday.

Shortly after sunset on Monday you might be able to catch four planets and the crescent moon all in a line. Mercury is still very close to the sun and is the lowest, Venus is next, followed by Saturn and then Mars, which is next to the moon. Jupiter is on the other side of the sky, bright in the southeast as the sky darkens.

Last week on July 29th, NASA celebrated the 50th anniversary of its charter by President Eisenhower. NASA officially began operations on October 1st 1958. In addition to coverage at nasa.gov, the internet archive, in conjunction with NASA, launched the nasaimages.org website which, among other areas, has a timeline of NASA history in images.

Also last week came the news that the Mars Phoenix lander’s mission was officially expended and that the recent tests have confirmed the presence of water on the red planet. This is the first time that water has been directly touched by a robot on Mars. You can keep up with all the discoveries from this mission at phoenix.lpl.arizona.edu

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. This week, August 6th, will be the final Wednesday night star party for the summer.

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. Painter Hall viewing will run through August 16th this summer.

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.