Skywatchers Report

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

The moon is at first quarter on Wednesday the 20th so we'll start the week with a waxing crescent moon and finish with a waxing gibbous moon.

The summer solstice for the northern hemisphere occurs at 5:07 a.m. on Thursday June 21st in the US central time zone. This will be the date with the longest amount of daylight for the northern hemisphere and the shortest amount of daylight for the southern hemisphere.

Mercury is low in the west-northwest after sunset and is setting a little before 10 p.m. this week. Venus is high in the west at sunset and is setting at 11:10 p.m.

Jupiter is up in the south-southeast and is setting at 3:45 a.m. Look for Jupiter alongside the moon on Saturday night.

Saturn is rising at 8:45 p.m. and is now up almost the entire night as it heads towards opposition next week.

Finally, Mars is rising at 11:10 p.m. and is now at magnitude -1.9 and an angular size of 19.2 arcseconds.

In space anniversaries, Monday June 18th marks 35 years since Sally Ride became the first US woman in space and Friday June 22nd marks 40 years since the discovery of Charon, the largest moon of Pluto.

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. Due to a mechanical issue with the telescope, we may be using smaller telescopes outside the dome until repairs are finished on 16-inch.

Public viewing at the 9-inch refractor at Painter Hall is on Fridays and Saturdays 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. Take the elevator to the 5th floor and then take the stairs up to the 6th floor and follow the signs to the telescope.

Please arrive at RLM or Painter Hall before 10 p.m. to ensure access to the buildings.

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.