Skywatchers Report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday January 13th through Monday January 20th.

The moon is at third quarter on Friday so we’ll have a waning gibbous moon for most of the week and a waning crescent moon for the weekend.

Saturn is in conjunction with the Sun on Monday the 13th and then will begin to slowly emerge from the sun’s glare in the pre-dawn skies.

Mercury is starting to emerge from last week’s solar conjunction but is still setting just a few minutes after the sun and is not visible.

Venus is high in the southwestern skies at dusk and is setting at 8:50 p.m. at midweek.

Mars is rising at at 4:10 a.m. so it is now visible for a few hours before sunrise. Mars is currently at magnitude +1.5 and is 4.5 arcseconds in size and will grow to 22.5 arcseconds in size and magnitude -2.6 in brightness at closest approach in October.

Jupiter is rising at 6:30 a.m. at midweek and continues to emerge from the sun’s glare after conjunction late in 2019.

In space anniversaries this week, Monday January 20th will mark the 90th birthday of astronaut Buzz Aldrin, best known as the second human to step foot on the moon as part of the Apollo 11 mission. Aldrin was part of the third group of astronauts chosen by NASA and first flew in space on Gemini 12 where he performed three spacewalks to test procedures that would be needed for the upcoming Apollo program. Aldrin’s second mission was Apollo 11 where he and Neil Armstrong became the first people to land and walk on the moon while Michael Collins remained in lunar orbit. Aldrin retired from NASA in the early 1970s and is currently an advocate for human missions to Mars.

Public viewing on UT Campus telescopes will resume for the Spring 2020 semester in late January. Please check back for details on starting dates and times.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers Report.