skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for Monday April 23rd through Sunday the 29th.

The moon is at first quarter on Tuesday the 24th. Look for Saturn along the unlit side of the moon that night. On Wednesday night Saturn will be off the lit side of the moon. Without the moon to guide you, look for Saturn nearly overhead at about 9 p.m. this week.

Venus is still very bright in the west at sunset. Look for the open clusters of the Hyades and the Pleiades below Venus and the constellation of Orion to the planet’s left.

Jupiter is now creeping into the sky before midnight and is rising at 11:20 p.m. at midweek. Mars, however, is still in the morning skies and rises at 4:30 a.m.

This week NASA released the first 3-D images of the sun taken with the STEREO spacecraft, which launched last October. The mission actually consists of two satellites, one orbiting ahead of the Earth and the other behind. The combination of the data from the two spacecraft allows three-dimensional images to be generated. To learn more about the mission, logon to their website at stereo.gsfc.nasa.gov. Some of the first images were also posted at spaceweather.com. Be sure to grab a pair of red and blue glasses to get the full effect.

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.

Next week will be the final week of public viewing for the spring semester. Viewing will resume in 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. 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.