Skywatchers Report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday April 1 through Sunday April 7.

The new moon for the month of April is on the morning of Friday the 5th so we'll start the week with a waning crescent moon and end with the start of the waxing crescent phase.

Mars is in the west at sundown and is setting at 11:40 p.m. this week. Look for Mars between the Pleaides and Hyades open star clusters this week.

Jupiter is rising at 1:20 a.m. at midweek so it is now visible for several hours before sunrise. Saturn follows, rising at 3:00 a.m. at midweek.

Venus is rising at 5:45 a.m. Look for a very thin crescent moon below Venus on Tuesday morning. Mercury is rising at 6:10 a.m. at midweek, a little over an hour before the sun.

In space anniversaries this week, Tuesday April 2nd marks the 60th anniversary of the selection of Alan Shepard, Gus Grissom, John Glenn, Scott Carpenter, Wally Schirra, Gordon Cooper, and Deke Slayton as the Mercury 7 astronauts. They were officially announced the following week on April 9. Two years later Alan Shepard became the first American in space on May 5, 1961, three weeks after Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space.

Public viewing at the 16-inch reflector on top of Robert Lee Moore Hall is on Wednesday nights now from 8:30 to 10:30 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 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. 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.