skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for January 22nd to the 28th.

The new moon for the month of January is on Wednesday the 24th.

Jupiter and Saturn have been near each other in the sky for several months, but they will reach their closest point to one another this week, on Thursday. They will be 7.3 degrees apart, which is not close enough to be officially considered a conjunction.

On the 26th, a slim crescent moon will be about 7 degrees above and to the left of the tiny planet Mercury. Mercury is still fairly low after sunset, so sharp eyes and a clear view of the western horizon will help you pick out the innermost of our planets. It will reach its farthest point from the setting sun on the 28th.

Also on the 28th, the waxing crescent moon will be about 6 degrees from Venus in the west.

If you're looking for the planet Mars, you will have to get up a couple of hours before sunrise and look to the east. The Red Planet rises at about 2:00 AM and is high in the sky in the hour or so before sunrise.

The telescope at Robert Lee Moore hall is open to the public on Wednesday nights at 7 p.m. The building is located on the southeast corner of 26th and Speedway. Take the elevator to the 17th floor and follow the signs to the telescope.

The telescope at Painter hall is open on Fridays for UT students, faculty and staff from 7 to 8 p.m. and Saturdays are open to the general public from 7 to 9 p.m. Painter Hall is located on 24th street about half way between Speedway and Guadalupe.

All events are free and open to all ages and no reservations are required. Observing events are weather permitting.