Skywatchers Report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Tuesday May 26th through Sunday June 7th.

The moon will be in the waxing crescent phase until it reaches first quarter late on Saturday May 29th. After that, the waxing gibbous moon will grow until it reaches full on Friday June 5th. The full moon for the month of June is known as the Flower Moon, the Strawberry Moon, the Rose Moon, and the Honey Moon. There is also a penumbral lunar eclipse with this full moon but the Moon will just skirt through the outermost part of the Earth’s shadow so it might be a bit challenging to detect with your eye.

Venus is continuing to sink back towards the sun through the end of May and then will be in inferior conjunction with the Sun on Wednesday June 3rd. During inferior conjunction, Venus passes between the Sun and Earth from the Earth’s point of view. Sometimes things are lined up just right where we see Venus actually cross the disk of the Sun in what is called a ‘transit’ like we saw back in June 2012. Venus will start to reemerge from the glare of the Sun in our morning skies as we continue into June.

Mercury has been moving away from the Sun in the evening for all of May and will reach its greatest elongation east on Thursday June 4th when it will be setting at 10:15 p.m., over an hour and a half after sunset.

Jupiter is rising at 11:55 p.m. on May 26th and at 11:10 p.m. by June 7th. Saturn follows rising at 12:15 a.m. on May 26th and 11:25 p.m. by June 7th. Mars is rising at 2:20 a.m. on May 26th and at 1:55 a.m. by June 7th.

In space anniversaries, Monday June 1st marks 30 years since the launch of the ROSAT x-ray telescope. The telescope operated through February 1999 and reentered the earth’s atmosphere in October 2011 over the Bay of Bengal.

All public viewing events on UT campus telescopes are on hold for the time being. 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, McDonald Observatory has been live-streaming night sky tours from west Texas! You can view past events on the McDonald Observatory YouTube channel and you can follow the observatory on Twitter and Facebook to be notified of future events.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers Report.