skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday April 6 to Sunday April 12.

The moon is at third quarter late on Saturday night so we'll have a waning gibbous moon for most of this week.

Mercury is in superior conjunction with the sun late Thursday night and will pass behind the sun from the Earth's point of view. Mercury will slowly begin to emerge into our early evening skies over the next few weeks.

Mars is now pretty low in the west-northwest at sundown and is setting at 9:15 p.m.

Venus is shining brightly in the west at sundown and is setting at 10:55 p.m. this week. Look for the Pleiades open star cluster into the right of Venus later in the week.

Jupiter is high in the south at nightfall and is setting at 4:10 a.m.

Saturn is rising at 11:15 p.m. this week. Look for Saturn near the moon on Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.

In space anniversaries this week, Saturday the 11th marks the 45th anniversary of the launch of the Apollo 13 mission crewed by Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise. A ruptured oxygen tank would interrupt the mission two days into the flight, preventing the crew from performing the third lunar landing.

Public viewing at the 16-inch reflector on top of Robert Lee Moore Hall is on Wednesday nights currently 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. To get to the telescope, take the elevator to the 5th floor and exit to the left. Follow the 5th floor hallway to the end and take the staircase through the double doors on the left. Once you reach the 6th floor, go to your right 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.