skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday May 1 through Sunday May 7.

The full moon for the month of May is overnight from Thursday night into Friday morning depending on your time zone. This full moon is known as the Milk Moon, the Flower Moon, and the Corn Moon.

The Sun, Earth, and Moon are still in alignment after last month’s solar eclipse so there will be a lunar eclipse with this full moon. However, the moon will miss the darkest part of the Earth’s shadow, so this is what is known as a penumbral eclipse, which is much more subtle than when the Moon passes into the umbra. This eclipse will not be visible from North and South America, but most of Europe, Africa, Australia, and Asia will see it.

Mercury is in inferior conjunction on Monday May 1 when it will pass between the Earth and the sun and will move from our evening skies into our morning skies.

Venus continues to shine brightly in the west after sunset and is setting at 11:35 p.m. at midweek.

Mars is still high in the west at sundown and near the stars Castor and Pollux of the constellation Gemini the Twins. Mars is setting at 1:15 a.m. at midweek.

In the morning skies, Saturn is rising at 3:35 a.m. and Jupiter follows at 6:00 a.m., still just 45 minutes before sunrise.

Public viewing at the 16-inch reflector on top of the Physics, Math, and Astronomy building is on Wednesday nights now from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. PMA 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. This week will be the final week of viewing at PMA for the spring semester. Summer session viewing will start in early June, please check back for details on starting dates and times.

Public viewing at the 9-inch refractor at Painter Hall has finished for the spring semester. Stay tuned for information about the summer viewing schedule.

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.