skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday January 5th through Sunday January 11th.

The first full moon of 2015 was late on the night of Sunday January 4th and the moon will reach third quarter early next week, so we'll have a waning gibbous moon for the whole week.

Mercury and Venus will be close to one another low in the west-southwest at sunset, which makes this a good time to try to spot Mercury since the much brighter Venus will be close by. Look for Mercury just below Venus all week. Both will set a little after 7 p.m. at midweek.

Mars continues to be visible in the west-southwest and is setting at 8:50 p.m.

Jupiter is rising at 8:15 p.m. at midweek and will be a good target for anyone who received telescopes or binoculars over the holidays. There will be several double shadow transits by the moons of Jupiter this week and for the remainder of the month. If you want to try to spot shadows of the Galilean satellites on Jupiter's clouds, there are smart phone apps just for the moons of Jupiter that are helpful for identifying what you're seeing and planning future viewing. Look for Jupiter alongside the Earth's moon on Wednesday night.

Saturn is rising at 4 a.m. about three and a half hours before the sun, so there is a little dark time to observe it if you aren't patient enough for it to work its way back into the evening skies.

Public viewing on UT campus telescopes will resume in late January. Please check back for information on starting dates and times.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers Report.