Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Tuesday January 22nd through Sunday January 27th.
The moon was full late on the night of Sunday the 20th into the morning of Monday the 21st and will reach last quarter late on Sunday the 27th so we'll have a waning gibbous moon for all of this week.
Mars is still up in the southwest at sundown and is setting at 11:30 p.m. this week.
Venus and Jupiter are rising next to one another at 4:10 a.m. at the beginning of the week but will slowly move away from one another as the week progresses.
Saturn is rising at 6:10 a.m. at midweek, now a little over an hour before the sun.
Mercury is now too close to the sun to be seen as it heads towards conjunction next week.
In space anniversaries this week, Thursday January 24th marks 15 years since the landing of the Mars Exploration Rover "Opportunity", three weeks after its twin "Spirit". Opportunity was still successfully exploring Mars up through early last summer when the planet was engulfed by a dust storm. The last contact with Opportunity was on June 10 although NASA has continued to monitor for a signal from the rover.
Public viewing at the 16-inch reflector at RLM will resume next week on Wednesday night.
Public viewing at the 9-inch refractor at Painter Hall resumes this week on Friday and Saturday nights from 7 to 9 p.m. to start the spring semester. 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 then take the stairs up to the 6th floor 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.