skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday June 23rd through Sunday June 29th.

The new moon for the month of June is on the morning of Friday the 27th, so we'll start the week with a waning crescent moon and have a thin waxing crescent moon this weekend.

Jupiter is now low in the west at sunset and is setting a little before 10 p.m.

Mars is still shining brightly in the south-southwest at sundown. A mid-sized telescope will probably show some features, such as a polar ice cap and dark areas on Mars' disk. The distance between Earth and Mars is increasing after closest approach in April so the angular size of Mars is gradually decreasing and making it harder to see details on the Red Planet from Earth telescopes. Mars is setting at 2 a.m. at midweek.

Saturn is up in the south-southeast and is setting at 3:40 a.m. this week.

In the morning skies, Mercury is emerging from conjunction and is lost in the sun's glare. Venus is rising at 4:30 a.m. so you can still catch it in the east before dawn. On Tuesday morning the very thin crescent moon will be about a degree away from Venus.

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.