skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday June 18th through Sunday June 24th.

The new moon for the month of June is on Tuesday the 19th, so we will have a waxing crescent for the remainder of the week.

The summer solstice for the northern hemisphere occurs at 6:09 p.m. central daylight time marking the longest day of the year. For our friends in the southern hemisphere it is the winter solstice and marks the shortest day of the year.

Mercury is visible low in the west-northwest and is near the bright stars Castor and Pollux in the constellation Gemini. Mercury is setting at 10:15 p.m. at midweek.

Mars is visible high in the southwest in the early evenings and is setting at 1:20 a.m. at midweek. Saturn is visible in the south and is still above the bright star Spica in the constellation Virgo. Saturn is setting at 2:45 a.m. at midweek.

After forming a bright pair in the evening skies a few months ago, Jupiter and Venus are now moving towards one another in the morning skies after their conjunctions with the sun. Jupiter is rising at 4:40 a.m. with Venus coming up 30 minutes later this week. The two bright planets will not get as close as they were in the evening skies but will still make a nice pair in the morning skies for the next few weeks.

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. Please note that due to repair work on the telescope dome there may be last minute cancellations of public viewing nights over the summer. A message will be on the weather cancellation line at 232-4265 if we have to cancel an event due to construction.

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. Observing events are weather permitting. Please call 232-4265 for weather cancellation information, which is updated 30 to 60 minutes before the scheduled start time when a viewing is cancelled.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers Report.