skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday June 15th through Sunday June 21st.

The new moon for the month of June is on Tuesday the 16th and we'll have a waxing crescent moon in the early evening skies for the remainder of the week.

Venus and Jupiter continue to converge in the western skies after sunset with Venus setting at 11:30 p.m. at midweek, and Jupiter following about 20 minutes later. Look for a thin crescent moon to the left of Jupiter on Saturday night.

Saturn is high in the southeast at sundown and is above the head of the constellation Scorpius.

Mercury is now up about an hour before the sun as it heads towards greatest elongation next week. Mars is still emerging from conjunction with the sun and is not visible.

The summer solstice for the northern hemisphere occurs at 11:38 a.m. Central Daylight Time on Sunday the 21st. This is the day when the sun reaches its farthest point north of the celestial equator and makes the largest arc across our sky, giving us the longest amount of daylight for the year. In the southern hemisphere, this marks the shortest day of the year and the start of winter.

And in space news from the past weekend, the European Space Agency announced Sunday that it has received a signal from Rosetta's Philae lander, which had been hibernating on comet 67/P since last fall. You can learn more about the mission at rosetta.esa.int

Public viewing at the 16-inch reflector on top of Robert Lee Moore Hall is on Wednesday nights from 9:00 to 10:30 p.m. this summer. 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 9:00 to 10:30 p.m. this summer. Painter Hall is located on 24th street about halfway between Speedway and Guadalupe and is northeast of the UT Tower. To get to the telescope, take the elevator to the 5th floor and exit to the left. Follow the 5th floor hallway to the end and take the staircase through the double doors on the left. Once you reach the 6th floor, go to your right and follow the signs up to the telescope.

All events are free and open to all ages and no reservations are required. Note that viewing times and availability change throughout the year so please check the schedule before planning a visit. Observing events are weather permitting. Please call 512-232-4265 for weather cancellation information, which is updated 30 to 45 minutes before the scheduled viewing start time.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers Report.