Skywatchers Report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday June 3rd through Sunday June 9th.

The new moon for the month of June is early on Monday the 3rd and we'll have a waxing crescent moon in our early evening skies for the remainder of the week.

Mercury is visible low in the west at sunset as it moves out of conjunction with the sun. Mercury sets around 10 p.m. at midweek so you might be able to catch it with a good view of the western horizon.

Mars is a little above Mercury in the west after sunset and is setting at 10:35 p.m. Look for a thin crescent moon above and to the left of Mars on Wednesday night.

Jupiter is rising at 8:40 p.m. at midweek as it heads towards opposition next Monday.

Saturn is up at 10:45 p.m. at midweek so it is now visible for a good portion of the night.

Venus is now the only remaining naked-eye planet visible in the morning and it is rising at 5:25 a.m., about an hour before the sun.

One object we don't talk too much about but that can be observed with proper safety equipment is the sun, although there isn't a whole lot to see on it right now as we're at the minimum of its 11-year sunspot cycle. Predictions for the next cycle (number 25) which is due to start later this year or early next year, is that it will be similar to the one we're now completing (cycle number 24). Cycle 24 was fairly weak, with fewer sunspots and solar storms, although some individual flares and coronal mass ejections were still quite powerful. The sun can be a rewarding object to observe, as long as you are doing so with equipment that is made specifically for safely observing the sun. And if you don't have access to such equipment, there are a number of places online to see near-live images of the sun from solar observatories. Check out Spaceweather.com for images and links to other sites with solar imagery such as the Solar Dynamics Observatory and the Solar and Hemispheric Observatory.

Public viewing on UT campus telescopes for the summer session will resume next week. Please check back for details on starting dates and times.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers Report.