Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for August 20th to the 26th.
The moon is at first quarter on Saturday the 25th.
Mars is high in the south at about 9:00 p.m. this week. The other naked eye planets that are currently visible are up in the morning hours. Venus is the brightest but lowest of the morning planets. Jupiter is above and to the right of Venus. The ringed planet Saturn is above and to the right of Jupiter and about five and a half degrees from the reddish star Aldebaran in Taurus. Early morning observing will give you a preview of the evening skies in the late autumn and early winter.
The space shuttle Discovery undocked from the International Space Station Monday morning, leaving the Expedition Three crew on their own. The shuttle is due to land on Wednesday. You can stay up-to-date on opportunities to see the shuttle or space station from your backyard on the web at http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/ and click on 'real-time data' and look for 'sighting opportunities'.
Photos from this year's Perseid meteor shower are being posted on spaceweather.com, along with some beautiful images of the Northern Lights. You can also follow sunspot and other solar activity at the site.
Public viewing nights on UT telescopes are on hiatus and will resume after Labor Day.
Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers' report.