Skywatchers Report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday June 8th through Sunday June 14th.

The moon will be at last quarter late on Friday night into Saturday morning, so we’ll have a waning gibbous moon for most of the week and start into the waning crescent phase during the weekend.

Mercury is visible low in the west-northwest after sunset and is starting to sink back towards the sun after greatest elongation last week. Mercury is setting just after 10:00 p.m. at midweek, about an hour and a half after the sun.

Over in the east, Jupiter is rising at 10:50 p.m. as it works its way towards opposition in mid-July. Saturn follows Jupiter at 11:05 p.m. and it will reach opposition next month just a week after Jupiter.

Mars is rising at 1:50 a.m. Look for Mars just above the moon early on Friday morning.

In space anniversaries this week, the week of June 8 – 14, 1975 saw two launches in the Soviet exploration of the planet Venus. On June 8th, the Venera 9 spacecraft launched followed by Venera 10 on June 14th and began their 4-month journey to Venus. Both missions had an orbiter and a lander and both landers lasted under the harsh surface conditions of Venus for about an hour. Both orbiters operated into 1976 before their missions ended.

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.