Skywatchers Report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday May 13th through Sunday June 2nd.

The full moon for the month of May is on the night of Saturday the 18th. This full moon is known as the Milk Moon, Flower Moon, and the Corn Moon. After reaching full, the moon will be in the waning gibbous phase until it reaches third quarter on Sunday May 26th. The moon will be a waning crescent in our early morning skies until it is a new moon on Monday June 3rd.

Mercury is in superior conjunction with the sun on the morning of Tuesday May 21st and will move from our morning skies into our evening skies. By June 2nd, Mercury will be setting at 9:40 p.m., a little over an hour after the sun.

Mars is still visible in the west at sundown and continues to shrink in angular size and brightness as our two planets move away from one another. Mars is setting at 11 p.m. in mid-May and at 10:40 p.m. at the beginning of June.

Over in the east, Jupiter is now moving towards its prime viewing time for this year and is rising at 10:15 p.m. in mid-May and is up at 9:00 p.m. at the beginning of June.

Saturn is rising at 12:20 a.m. in mid-May and will be up by 11:00 p.m. at the beginning of June.

Venus is rising around 5:30 a.m. for the rest of May, about an hour before the sun.

In space anniversaries, Wednesday May 29th marks 100 years since the total solar eclipse that helped to prove Einstein's theory of General Relativity. Measurements were performed on stars in the constellation Taurus that were visible near the sun during the eclipse and their light was found to be bent by the sun's gravity in the predicted amount.

Another space anniversary occurring in May - Saturday May 18th marks the 50th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 10, the "dress rehearsal" for the Apollo 11 moon landing that would come a couple of months later. Astronauts Tom Stafford, John Young, and Gene Cernan tested all aspects of the lunar landing except the landing itself. John Young would later walk on the moon on Apollo 16 and Gene Cernan would be the last person to walk on the moon as part of the Apollo 17 mission.

Public viewing on UT campus telescopes has finished for the spring 2019 semester. Summer session viewing will start in early-to-mid June. Please check back for details on starting dates and times.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers Report.