skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday June 29th through Sunday July 5th.

The first full moon for the month is on the night of Wednesday the 1st so we'll start the week with a waxing gibbous moon and finish with a waning gibbous moon. The full moon of July is known as the Hay Moon and the Thunder Moon.

Venus and Jupiter will finally reach their closest point to one another this week after several weeks of converging in the western skies. They will be less than half a degree apart on Tuesday night and still quite close together on Wednesday night. After the close approach the pair will slowly separate as they both move back towards the sun. Both planets set around 11:00 p.m. this week.

Saturn is visible in the south-southeast above the top of the constellation Scorpius. Saturn is setting at 4:00 a.m. this week.

Over in the morning skies, Mercury is past its greatest elongation and is now starting to move back towards the sun. Mercury will be rising at 5:10 a.m. at midweek, still more than an hour before sunrise.

Mars continues to move out of conjunction with the sun so it is up only 20 minutes before sunrise.

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. Please note that there will be no viewing on Saturday July 4th.

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.