skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday July 2nd through Sunday July 8th.

The full moon for the month of July is on Tuesday the 3rd, so we will have a waning gibbous moon for the remainder of the week. This full moon is known as the Hay Moon and the Thunder Moon.

Mercury is now slowly sinking back towards the sun and is visible low in the west-northwest after sunset. Mercury is setting at 10 p.m. at midweek.

Mars is the southwest at sunset and it setting at 12:40 a.m. Saturn is still near the bright start Spica in the constellation Virgo in the south-southwest in the early evening and is setting at 1:50 a.m.

Venus and Jupiter are still near one another in the morning skies, with the orange colored star Aldebaran nearby. Jupiter rises at 3:55 a.m. at midweek, followed by Venus at 4:20 a.m.

The Earth is at aphelion, our farthest point from the sun due to our elliptical orbit, on the night of Wednesday the 4th. The Earth was at perihelion, the closest point to the sun, back on January 4th. The difference between our closest and farthest points from the sun is about 3 million miles or 5 million kilometers.

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. We will be open July 4th, weather permitting.

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.