Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday April 27th through Sunday May 3rd.
The moon is at first quarter on Thursday the 30th so we’ll have a waxing crescent moon for the first half of the week and a waxing gibbous moon for the remainder of the week.
Venus remains the only naked eye planet visible in the early evening skies and it will reach its greatest brightness early this week. Although it is only about 25% illuminated, it’s angular size in our skies is 37 arcseconds so the overall brightness is high. Venus is setting at 11:20 p.m. at midweek.
Jupiter is rising at 1:40 a.m., followed by Saturn at 2 a.m. Mars is rising a little over an hour later at 3:10 a.m.
Mercury is now too close to the sun to observe as it heads towards conjunction early next week.
In space anniversaries this week, Wednesday April 29 marks 35 years since the launch of the space shuttle Challenger on a weeklong mission to conduct experiments with the European Space Agency’s Spacelab module. Spacelab was a reusable laboratory whose components were used on over 30 shuttle flights, with 22 major missions between 1983 and 1998. Technology and systems created for Spacelab are still in use today on the International Space Station and related missions.
All public viewing events on UT campus telescopes are on hold for the time being. We will update the website outreach.as.utexas.edu with a new schedule when we are able to resume viewing.
Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers Report.