skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday April 21st through Sunday April 27th.

The moon is at third quarter on the morning of Tuesday the 22nd, so we'll have a waning crescent moon in the late night and early morning skies for most of this week.

Jupiter is still bright high in the west after sunset and is in the middle of the constellation Gemini. Look for Castor and Pollux, the twins of Gemini above Jupiter. Jupiter sets at 1:25 a.m. at midweek.

Mars is now fairly high in the east-southeast at sunset and is at its brightest for the year. Mars will set a little after 6 a.m. so it is visible for most of the night this week.

Saturn follows Mars in the east-southeast, rising at 9:10 p.m. as it nears opposition in a few weeks.

Venus is still up in the morning skies, rising about two hours before the sun. Look for a very thin crescent moon near Venus on Friday and Saturday morning. Mercury is in superior conjunction with the sun on Saturday and will pass behind the sun from the Earth's point of view and will move from the morning skies into the evening skies.

The Lyrid meteor shower peaks on Tuesday the 22nd. The Lyrids are a moderately active shower, usually producing around 10 to 20 meteors an hour at its peak.

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.

Next week will be the final week of spring semester public viewing on UT campus telescope. Summer viewing will start in the first half of June.

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.