skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday August 19th through Sunday August 25th.

The full moon for the month of August is on Tuesday the 20th, so we'll start the week with a waxing gibbous moon and finish with a waning gibbous moon. The full moon for the month of August is known as the Grain Moon and the Green Corn Moon.

Venus is low in the west-southwest after sundown and is setting at 9:50 p.m. Saturn is in the southwest in the evening twilight and is setting at 11:20 p.m. at midweek. The blue-white star Spica of the constellation Virgo can be seen in between Venus and Saturn.

Over in the morning skies, Jupiter is rising at 3:20 a.m. Mars is up a little later at 4:25 a.m. Mars can be seen at the bottom of a line formed with the twin stars of Gemini, Castor and Pollux.

Mercury is now lost in the sun's glare as it goes into superior conjunction with the sun on Saturday the 24th. Mercury will be moving from the morning skies into the evening skies after conjunction.

In space anniversaries, 10 years ago on August 25th the Space Infrared Telescope Facility, later renamed the Spitzer Space Telescope, was launched from Cape Canaveral. Spitzer finished its primary mission in 2009 when its liquid helium coolant ran out, but continues to operate as the Spitzer Warm Mission since some of its instruments can still function with the same sensitivity without the coolant. You can learn more about the mission at www.spitzer.caltech.edu. Spitzer is spelled S-P-I-T-Z-E-R.

Public viewing on UT campus telescopes has finished for the summer. Fall viewing will resume in early September. Please check back for information on starting dates and times.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers Report.