skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday June 30th through Sunday July 6th.

The moon is at first quarter on Saturday July 5th, so we'll have a waxing crescent moon for most of this week and a waxing gibbous moon for the weekend.

Jupiter is now very low in the west at sunset and is setting at 9:35 p.m., just one hour after the sun.

Mars is high in the south-southwest at sunset and is setting at 1:40 a.m. Look for Mars just off the limb of the moon on Saturday night. Some parts of the western hemisphere will see the moon actually occult, or move in front of, Mars, but North America will miss out.

Saturn is high in the south at sundown and is setting at 3:15 a.m. at midweek.

Mercury is emerging from the sun's glare after conjunction and is now up an hour before the sun at midweek, so you might be able to catch it with a good view of the eastern horizon.

Venus is rising at 4:30 a.m. so you should still be able to see it as the morning star.

In space anniversaries, Tuesday July 1st marks the 10th anniversary of the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft entering orbit around the planet Saturn, where it continues to operate today. The mission has made many discoveries and has returned remarkable imagery from the Saturnian system, which you can see and learn more about at saturn.jpl.nasa.gov

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 at Painter Hall on Friday July 4th. Viewing will be held as scheduled on Saturday July 5th.

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 and have a happy and safe Independence Day holiday!