Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Tuesday July 17th through Sunday July 22nd.
The moon is at first quarter on Thursday July 19th, so we'll start the week with a waxing crescent moon and end the week with a waxing gibbous moon.
Mercury is still visible in the west shortly after sunset and is setting at 9:45 p.m., so there is still a chance to catch it before it goes into its next conjunction with the sun.
Venus continues to shine brightly in the west for a few hours after sunset and it is setting at 10:50 p.m. Venus has now shrunk to 62% illumination, so it looks like a tiny quarter phase moon in a telescope.
Jupiter is now in the south-southwest as the sky darkens after sunset and is setting at 1:55 a.m., so there are still several hours of darkness to observe it. Look for Jupiter below the moon on Friday night.
Saturn is up in the southeast at sunset and is setting around 5:00 a.m.
Mars is rising at 9:20 p.m. at midweek and has grown to 24 arcseconds in size and magnitude -2.7 in brightness. Mars will be at opposition next week and its closest approach to Earth will follow a few days later.
Public viewing at the 16-inch reflector on top of Robert Lee Moore Hall is on Wednesday nights from 9:00 to 10:30 p.m. this summer. RLM 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.
Public viewing at the 9-inch refractor at Painter Hall is on Fridays and Saturdays from 9:00 to 10:30 p.m. this summer. Painter Hall is located on 24th street about halfway between Speedway and Guadalupe and is northeast of the UT Tower. Take the elevator to the 5th floor and then take the stairs up to the 6th floor and follow the signs to the telescope.
The weekend of July 27 & 28th will be the final nights of viewing at the Painter Hall Telescope this summer. RLM viewing will continue into August. Please arrive at RLM or Painter Hall before 10 p.m. to ensure access to the buildings.
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.