Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday April 16th through Sunday April 22nd.
The moon was new on the night of Sunday the 15th and will reach first quarter late on Sunday the 22nd, so we'll have a waxing crescent moon in our early evening skies for all of this week.
Venus is a little bit higher at sundown each week and is setting at around 10 p.m. this week. A very thin crescent moon will be to the left of Venus on Tuesday evening. Over in the east, Jupiter is rising at 9:30 p.m. this week.
Saturn is rising at 1:15 a.m., followed by Mars at 1:50 a.m. Mars is continuing to grow in brightness and angular size as it moves towards its closest approach to the Earth in late July. Mercury is rising at 6:00 a.m., an hour before sunrise.
The Lyrid meteor shower peaks on the night of Sunday April 22nd and will appear to come from a point near the star Vega in the constellation Lyra, which is rising in the northeast a little after 10 p.m. This shower produces about 20 meteors an hour although it has been observed to have outbursts on a 60-year cycle. The last observed outburst was in 1982, so one isn't expected this year.
Public viewing at the 16-inch reflector on top of Robert Lee Moore Hall is on Wednesday nights 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 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.