skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for Monday April 16th through the 22nd.

The moon is new on Tuesday the 17th. The moon is at perigee, its closest point to the earth in its orbit, just a few hours before, so expect higher tides that day.

Venus is still very bright in the west after sunset and at the beginning of the week it can be seen between the open star clusters of the Hyades and Pleiades in Taurus. On Thursday the 19th the very slim crescent moon will be below Venus and then on Friday, look for the moon above Venus.

Saturn is still high, almost overhead, when the skies darken at sunset. Jupiter is now rising at around midnight but you will still have to wait until just before dawn to see Mars, which rises at about 5 a.m.

The sun continues to be totally blank of sunspots, although a very tiny sunspot was seen on Sunday the 15th, interrupting a string of 11 days of a sunspot count of zero. In the last solar minimum, 1996, the sun went for a total of 37 days in a row without any spots.

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.