Skywatchers Report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday January 22nd through Sunday January 28th.

The moon is at first quarter on Wednesday the 24th so we'll start the week with a waxing crescent moon and finish with a waxing gibbous moon.

Venus continues to move away from the sun but is still setting just 15 minutes after the sun so it cannot be observed yet.

To see any planets this week, you'll still have to get up to observe in the early morning skies.

Jupiter is rising at 2:00 a.m. this week so it will be up for over 5 hours before the Sun rises.

Mars follows Jupiter at 2:45 a.m. Mars will continue to grow in brightness and angular size for the next 6 months until it reaches closest approach in July, which will be the best Earth-based view of the Red Planet since 2003.

Saturn is rising at 5:25 a.m., now two hours before sunrise.

Mercury is up at 6:35 a.m., which is less than an hour before sunrise so it will be lost in the sun's glare.

In space anniversaries, on January 22, 2003, the Pioneer 10 spacecraft sent its final signal to Earth after more than 30 years in operation after its launch on March 2, 1972.

Public viewing at the 16-inch reflector on top of Robert Lee Moore Hall is on Wednesday nights currently from 7 to 9 p.m. 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 Friday and Saturday nights currently from 7 to 9 p.m. Painter Hall is located on 24th street about halfway between Speedway and Guadalupe and is northeast of the UT Tower. To get to the telescope, take the elevator to the 5th floor and exit to the left. Follow the 5th floor hallway to the end and take the staircase through the double doors on the left. Once you reach the 6th floor, go to your right and follow the signs up to the telescope.

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.