Skywatchers Report

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

The full moon for the month of April is late on Tuesday night here in central Texas so we’ll start the week with a waxing gibbous moon and then have a waning gibbous moon for the remainder of the week. The full moon for April is known as the Egg Moon and the Grass Moon.

Venus is still shining brightly in the west after sunset. Look for the Pleiades open cluster below Venus and the Hyades open cluster to the left of Venus this week.

The bright planets of the morning skies are slowly making their way back to our evening skies with Jupiter rising at 3:00 a.m., followed by Saturn at 3:20 a.m., and Mars at 3:40 a.m.

Mercury is moving back towards the sun and its next conjunction and is rising a little under an hour before the sun.

In space anniversaries this week, Saturday April 11 marks 50 years since Apollo 13 launched on its mission to the moon. A little over two days into the mission, one of the spacecraft’s oxygen tanks failed and the lunar landing was aborted. Astronauts Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise took refuge in the Lunar Module as mission control worked to bring them home. Apollo 13 continued on its trajectory to loop around the moon and performed an engine burn to put them on a return path to the Earth. The mission successfully splashed down in the Pacific Ocean and the astronauts were recovered by the USS Iwo Jima on April 17, nearly 6 days after launch.

All public viewing events on UT campus telescopes are on hold for the time being. We will update the website outreach.as.utexas.edu with a new schedule when we are able to resume viewing.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers Report.