Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday June 5 through Sunday June 11.
The moon is at third quarter on Saturday the 10th so we’ll have a waning gibbous moon for most of the week and then start into the waning crescent phase on Sunday.
Venus continues to shine brightly in the west after sunset and will now start moving back towards the sun after its greatest elongation last week. Venus is setting at 11:45 p.m. at midweek.
Mars is above and to the left of Venus and looks like a small orange star. Mars is setting at 11:55 p.m. at midweek.
In the morning skies, Saturn is rising at 1:25 a.m. as it continues to move back towards our early evening skies. Look for Saturn above the Moon on Friday morning.
Jupiter is rising at 4:05 a.m., followed by Mercury at 5:15 a.m. as it moves back towards the sun and its next conjunction.
In space anniversaries this week, Saturday June 10 marks 20 years since the launch of the Mars Exploration Rover – A, more commonly known as Spirit. The rover successfully landed in Gusev crater on Mars in January 2004 and roved the Martian surface for five years until it became stuck in soft sand. Spirit was able to perform as a stationary science platform until contact was lost on March 22, 2010. After over a year of attempting to contact the rover, NASA officially ended the mission on May 25, 2011.
Public viewing at the 16-inch reflector on top of the Physics, Math, and Astronomy building is on Wednesday nights from 9:00 to 10:30 p.m. this summer. PMA is located on the southeast corner of Dean Keeton and Speedway. Take the elevator to the 17th floor and follow the signs to the telescope.
There will be no public viewing at the Painter Hall Telescope this summer. Friday and Saturday night viewing at Painter Hall will resume in the fall semester.
All events are free and open to all ages and no reservations are required. Note that viewing times and availability change throughout the year so please check the schedule before planning a visit. Observing events are weather permitting. Please call 512-232-4265 for weather cancellation information, which is updated 30 to 45 minutes before the scheduled viewing start time.
Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers Report.