skywatchers report

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

The new moon for the month of April is early on the morning of Saturday the 21st so we will have a waning crescent moon for most of this week.

Jupiter is now low in the west as the sky darkens after sunset and it setting at 9:20 p.m. at midweek. Venus is higher and brighter than Jupiter and is setting at 11:35 p.m. Although a telescope will show that Venus is currently in a crescent phase, it is getting closer to Earth so its angular size is growing and it will continue to brighten until the end of the month.

Mars is high in the east-southeast at nightfall and is setting around 4:30 a.m. A little lower, Saturn is rising at 7:30 p.m. and is visible almost until dawn. Mercury is rising at 5:50 a.m. at midweek and is at its greatest elongation west on Wednesday the 18th.

The Lyrid meteor shower peaks on the night of Saturday the 21st into the morning hours of the 22nd. Since this is right after the new moon, there will be no interference of moonlight for this shower. The meteors appear to come from a point in the constellation Lyra which is above the northeast horizon by 11 p.m. The Lyrids typically produce around 20 meteors an hour at their peak.

Public viewing at the 16-inch reflector on top of Robert Lee Moore Hall is on Wednesday night now 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 night 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. 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. Observing events are weather permitting. Please call 232-4265 for weather cancellation information, which is updated 30 to 60 minutes before the scheduled viewing start time when a viewing is cancelled.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers Report.