Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday April 3 through Sunday April 9.
The full moon for the month of April is late on the night of Wednesday the 5th, so we’ll start the week with a waxing gibbous moon and finish with a waning gibbous moon. The full moon for the month of April is known as the Egg Moon and the Grass Moon.
Jupiter is now lost in the sun’s glare as it heads towards solar conjunction next week.
Mercury is low in the west at sundown and is setting about an hour and a half after sunset at midweek.
Venus is shining brightly in the west at sunset and is setting at 10:55 p.m.
Mars is very high in the west at sundown and is setting at 2:05 a.m.
In the morning skies, Saturn is rising at 5:20 a.m., nearly two hours before sunrise.
In space anniversaries this week, Wednesday April 5 marks 50 years since the launch of the Pioneer 11 spacecraft on its mission to the outer solar system. Pioneer 11 flew past Jupiter in late 1974 and then in 1979 it became the first spacecraft to visit Saturn. In 1990, Pioneer 11 became the fourth human-made object to pass the orbit of Neptune. The last data was received from Pioneer 11 in November 1995 and the mission was officially ended after 22 years.
Public viewing at the 16-inch reflector on top of the Physics, Math, and Astronomy building is on Wednesday nights now from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. PMA 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 now 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.