skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday May 10th through Sunday May 16th.

The new moon for the month of May occurs on Tuesday the 11th and then we’ll have a waxing crescent moon low in the west in the early evening for the remainder of the week.

Venus is low in the west after sunset and is setting about an hour after the sun this week. The moon and Venus will be alongside one another on Wednesday evening which you might be able to pick it out of the evening twilight with a good view of the western horizon.

Mercury is above Venus and is setting nearly two hours after the sun, so this week is a good time to try to spot the innermost planet. The very thin waxing crescent moon will be alongside Mercury on Thursday evening.

Mars is higher in the west and is currently in the middle of the constellation Gemini the Twins. Mars is setting around midnight this week. Look for Mars above the waxing crescent moon on Sunday evening.

Saturn is rising at 1:50 a.m. this week, followed by Jupiter at 2:40 a.m. so both gas giants are now up for several hours before sunrise.

In space anniversaries this week, Sunday May 16th marks 10 years since the launch of the final flight of the space shuttle Endeavour and the second-to-last flight of the space shuttle program. This flight of Endeavour delivered parts and materials to the International Space Station including the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer 2, a particle physics experiment that studies cosmic rays.

All public viewing events on UT campus telescopes are currently on hold. We will update the website outreach.as.utexas.edu with a new schedule when we are able to resume viewing.

While you’re waiting for in-person telescope viewing to resume, you can tune in to McDonald Observatory live streams from west Texas. You can view past events on the McDonald Observatory YouTube channel and you can follow the observatory on TwitterFacebook and at McDonaldObservatory.org to be notified of future events.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers Report.