skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for April 30th to May 6th.

The first quarter lunar phase occurs on Monday April 30th in the afternoon. This is the second time this phase occurred in April, with the first one being back on April 1st.

The bright "star" in the east before sunrise isn't really a star at all. It is the planet Venus, which reaches it's peak brightness of magnitude ­4.5 this week.

Saturn and Jupiter are nearing the end of their brilliant display for the first half of the year, but will return to our evening skies by November. The biggest show of a planet for the summer will be from Mars, which reaches opposition on June 13 and will shine at magnitude ­2.4 at its peak.

The telescope at Robert Lee Moore hall is open to the public on Wednesday nights at 8:30 p.m. The building is located on the southeast corner of Dean Keeton (formerly 26th street) and Speedway. Take the elevator to the 17th floor and follow the signs to the telescope.

The telescope at Painter hall is open on Fridays for UT students, faculty and staff from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. and Saturdays are open to the general public from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. Painter Hall is located on 24th street about half way between Speedway and Guadalupe.

This week will be the last public star parties for the spring semester. Summer viewing will start in June. Stay tuned for further details.

All events are free and open to all ages and no reservations are required. Observing events are weather permitting.