Skywatchers Report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday August 26th through Monday September 2nd.

The second new moon for the month of August occurs on Friday August 30th so we'll have a waning crescent moon in the early morning skies for most of the week and then a slim waxing crescent moon will be in the early evening skies this weekend. This new moon occurs within 6 hours of perigee - the moon's closest point to the earth in its orbit - so there will larger tides that day.

Mars is in conjunction with the sun late on the night of Sunday September 1. After conjunction, Mars will slowly emerge into our morning skies as it heads towards its next close approach with the earth in October 2020.

Venus has climbed a little higher in our evening skies after conjunction a few weeks ago, but it is setting just 15 minutes after the sun, so it is still lost in the sun's glare.

Jupiter is still shining brightly high in the south at sundown and is setting at 1:05 a.m. at midweek.

Saturn is up in the south-southeast at nightfall and is setting at 3:10 a.m. at midweek.

Mercury is now also lost in the sun's glare as it heads towards conjunction next week.

In space anniversaries this week, Friday August 30th marks 35 years since the first flight of the Space Shuttle Discovery. Discovery would go on to fly 39 missions before it was retired in March 2011 and it is now on display at the National Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center.

And 45 years ago on September 1, the Pioneer 11 spacecraft made its closest approach to Jupiter. Five years later to the day, Pioneer 11 because the first spacecraft to make a flyby of Saturn.

Public viewing on UT campus telescopes has finished for the summer session. Fall semester viewing 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 great Labor Day Weekend!