Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday August 26th through Monday September 2nd.
The moon is at third quarter on Wednesday the 28th so we'll begin the week with a waning gibbous moon and end with a waning crescent moon.
Mercury is still emerging from conjunction with the sun and is setting just 20 minutes after the sun at midweek.
Venus is still visible low in the west-southwest shortly after sunset and is setting at 9:45 p.m. at midweek. Saturn is now low in the southwest at nightfall and is setting at 10:50 p.m.
In the morning skies, Jupiter is rising at 3 a.m. followed by Mars at 4:15 a.m. Look for the waning crescent moon near Jupiter on the morning of Saturday the 31st and between Jupiter and Mars on the morning of September 1st. A very thin crescent moon will be a little below and to the right of Mars on the morning of Monday September 2nd.
The Long Range Reconnaissance Imager on the New Horizons spacecraft, now two years from its closest approach with Pluto imaged the dwarf planet and its largest moon Charon as separate objects for the first time last month. The spacecraft is still a little more than half a billion miles from the system, but will come within less than 8000 miles of Pluto's surface on July 14, 2015. You can see the image of Pluto and Charon and learn more about the mission at pluto.jhuapl.edu
Public viewing on UT campus telescopes for the fall semester will start next week. Please check back for details on starting dates and times.
Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers Report and have a happy and safe Labor Day weekend.