Skywatchers Report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday May 7th through Sunday May 13th.

The moon is at last quarter late on the night of Monday the 7th and will be new early next week so we will have a waning crescent moon in our early morning skies for most of the week.

Venus still dominates the western skies after sunset and is currently shining at magnitude -3.9 and setting at 10:35 p.m. If you look at Venus in a telescope right now, it will appear slightly egg-shaped since it is about 86% illuminated from Earth's point of view.

Over in the east, Jupiter is at opposition on Tuesday night so it will rise at sunset and be visible for the entire night. Although not as bright as Venus, Jupiter is still quite bright at magnitude -2.5.

Saturn is now rising a little before midnight as it moves towards opposition in late June. Mars follows at 1:10 a.m. and will be at opposition in late July.

Mercury is rising at 5:35 a.m., about an hour before the sun. A very thin crescent moon will be to the right of Mercury on Sunday morning.

Over the weekend, the Mars InSight mission launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, making it the first interplanetary mission to launch from the west coast of the United States. The mission is due to land on Mars on November 26 where it will join six orbital spacecraft and two rovers as the currently active missions at the Red Planet. You can learn more about the InSight lander at www.nasa.gov/insight

Public viewing on UT campus telescopes has finished for the spring semester. Summer session viewing will start in early-to-mid-June. Please check back for updates on starting dates and times.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers Report.