skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for Monday June 11th through Sunday the 17th.

The new moon for the month of June occurs early in the morning hours of Friday the 15th.

Three planets are still lined up in the western skies after sunset with Mercury low in the west-northwest, Venus higher and much brighter and Saturn above and to the left of Venus. Look for a slim crescent moon below Venus on Sunday the 17th.

Jupiter is working its way higher in the southeastern skies and is easy to spot at magnitude -2.6 To see Mars, you’ll have to wait until it rises around 3 a.m. this week.

Last Friday the space shuttle Atlantis launched and then docked with the International Space Station on Sunday. The mission is to continue the construction of the station and prepare it for the arrival of new science modules. A small area of thermal blanket that has come loose over one of Atlantis’ engines is being evaluated and a decision is expected in the next few days on whether the astronauts will perform a spacewalk to make repairs. You can follow the mission online at www.nasa.gov

Public viewing at the 16-inch reflector on top of Robert Lee Moore Hall is on Wednesday nights from 9 to 10:30 p.m. RLM is located on the southeast corner of Dean Keeton and Speedway. Take the elevator to the 17th floor and follow the signs to the telescope.

Public viewing at the 9 inch refractor at Painter Hall is on Friday and Saturday nights from 9 to 10:30 p.m. Painter Hall is located on 24th street about halfway between Speedway and Guadalupe and is northeast of the UT Tower.

All events are free and open to all ages and no reservations are required. Note that viewing times and availability change throughout the year. Observing events are weather permitting. Please call 232-4265 for weather cancellation information, which is updated 30 to 60 minutes before viewing start time on nights when public viewing is cancelled.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report.