skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday August 5th through Sunday August 11th.

The new moon for the month of August is on Tuesday and then we’ll see a waxing crescent moon for Wednesday and the remainder of the week.

Venus continues to shine brightly low in the west after sunset and is setting at 10 p.m. Look for the thin crescent moon near Venus on Friday the 9th.

Saturn is in the southwest after sunset and is setting at 12:15 a.m. Saturn is getting lower and lower in the southwest each evening so if you want to see it before it disappears into the sun's glare at conjunction, now is the time to do it.

Jupiter is rising in the east at 4:05 a.m. at midweek. Mars follows Jupiter, rising half an hour later. Mercury is rising at 5:35 a.m. as it sinks back towards the sun after last week's greatest elongation.

The peak of the Perseid meteor shower starts this weekend so it is worth taking a look both Saturday and Sunday nights into the following mornings. The Perseids come from the Earth passing through the debris left behind by the Comet Swift-Tuttle and on average produce around 80-100 meteors an hour at their peak. The best time to view is after midnight as the earth turns into the stream and the moon has set.

August 6th marks the one year anniversary of the landing of the Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity on the surface of the Red Planet. You can see all of the photos from the mission and help celebrate the anniversary at the mission website at http://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.

Next week will be the final week of public viewing on UT campus telescopes for the summer. Fall viewing will resume in early September. Please check back for information on starting dates and times.

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 512-232-4265 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.