skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday April 20th through Sunday April 26th.

The moon is at first quarter on Saturday night so we'll have a waxing crescent moon in our early evening skies for most of this week.

Mercury and Mars will pass by one another low in the west-northwest this week, passing at about 1.5 degrees separation on Thursday morning. Both will be setting about an hour after the sun at midweek.

Venus is much higher in the west at sunset and is setting at 11:15 p.m. this week. Look for a very thin crescent moon to the left of Venus on Tuesday evening.

Jupiter is very high in the south at sunset and is setting at 3:20 a.m. this week. Jupiter will be alongside the moon on Sunday night.

Saturn is rising at 10:15 p.m. this week as it heads towards opposition in about a month.

In space anniversaries this week, Friday April 24th marks the 25th anniversary of the launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery, carrying the Hubble Space Telescope to orbit. The telescope was released from Discovery's cargo bay the following day. You can learn more about the history of the Hubble Space Telescope at hubblesite.org and download a free e-book for the anniversary at hubble25th.org

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.