Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for Monday August 24th through August 30th.
The moon is at first quarter on Thursday the 27th, so we will have a waxing crescent for the first half of the week and a waxing gibbous moon for the second half. Look for the moon in the heart of the constellation Scorpius on Thursday.
Mercury and Saturn are visible low in the west right after sunset. Mercury it at its greatest elongation east on Monday the 24th and then will start sinking back towards the sun alongside Saturn. The pair set at about 9 p.m. at midweek.
Jupiter is now up in the southeast by the time night falls and is setting at 6 a.m.
Mars is up in the morning skies, rising at 2 a.m. and is alongside the winter constellation Orion the Hunter. Venus is lower and rising at 4:30 a.m.
The space shuttle Discovery is due to launch this week, with the first launch opportunity early in the morning hours of Tuesday the 25th. The shuttle is going to the International Space Station and bringing with it the Leonardo module and supplies for the station, including the COLBERT treadmill. This will be the 30th shuttle flight to the station. Astronaut Nicole Stott will remain aboard the station, replacing Tim Kopra, a native Austinite, who has been aboard the station for the past month. You can learn more about and follow the mission at nasa.gov.
Public viewing is finished for the summer. Viewing will resume next week so call back for details on starting dates and times.
Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report.