skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for Monday April 2nd through Sunday the 8th.

The full moon for the month of April is on Monday the 2nd. The full moon for April is called the Egg Moon and the Grass moon. Since this is the first full moon after the spring equinox, that means Easter will be this Sunday, the 8th. The moon is at apogee, its farthest point from the earth, just a few hours after the full moon. This combination will give us the smallest angular size of a full moon this year.

Venus is still dominating the western skies after the sun sets and is shining brightly at magnitude -4. Look for the Pleiades star cluster above Venus this week.

Saturn is high in the east at sundown and crosses the meridian at about 10 p.m. at midweek.  The meridian is a line that runs from a point marking due south on the horizon, through the zenith point straight overhead, to the north celestial pole.

Jupiter is rising at about 12:45 a.m., leading the pack of the rest of the planets that rise after midnight. Mars is rising a little after 5 a.m. and Mercury can be glimpsed shortly before the sun rises.

Scientists studying imagery from the Cassini spacecraft have released images of a hexagon shaped feature at the north pole of Saturn. The new imagery shows that the feature is long-lived, since it was first photographed by both of the Voyager spacecraft in the early 1980s. To see the images and a movie of the feature, logon to saturn.jpl.nasa.gov

Public viewing at the 16-inch reflector on top of Robert Lee Moore Hall is on Wednesday nights from 8 to 10 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 from 8 to 10 p.m. Painter Hall is located on 24th street about halfway between Speedway and Guadalupe and is northeast of the UT Tower.

All events are free and open to all ages and no reservations are required. Note that viewing times and availability change throughout the year. Observing events are weather permitting. Please call 232-4265 for weather cancellation information, which is updated 30 to 60 minutes before viewing start time on nights when public viewing is cancelled.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report.