Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday March 29th through Sunday April 4th.
The moon is at third quarter on Sunday the 4th so we’ll have a waning gibbous moon for most of the week.
Venus is emerging from conjunction with the Sun but is still too close to the Sun to observe. Over the next few months Venus will emerge from the evening twilight and will be visible again low in the west after sunset.
Mars is still visible high in the west at sundown and is now at magnitude 1.3 and has shrunk to 5.3 arcseconds in size, down from 22.5 arcseconds at its closest approach last October.
Saturn is rising at 4:25 a.m. at midweek, followed by Jupiter at 5:05 a.m. Mercury is sinking back towards the sun and is rising at 6:45 a.m., about 35 minutes before the Sun.
In space anniversaries this week, Wednesday March 31st marks the 55th anniversary of the launch of the Soviet Luna 10 spacecraft which became the first artificial satellite of the Moon. Luna 10 entered orbit around the Moon on April 3 and operated for about two months until the final signal was received on May 30, 1966.
All public viewing events on UT campus telescopes are on hold for the Spring 2021 semester. We will update the website outreach.as.utexas.edu with a new schedule when we are able to resume viewing.
While you’re waiting for in-person telescope viewing to resume, you can tune in to McDonald Observatory live streams from west Texas. You can view past events on the McDonald Observatory YouTube channel and you can follow the observatory on Twitter, Facebook and at McDonaldObservatory.org to be notified of future events.
Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers Report.