skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday July 7th through Sunday July 13th.

The full moon for the month of July is on Saturday the 12th, so we'll have a waxing gibbous moon for most of this week. This full moon is known as the Hay Moon and the Thunder Moon.

Jupiter is setting just 45 minutes after the sun so it is now mostly lost in the sun's glare as it heads towards conjunction later this month.

Mars is high in the southwest as night falls and can be seen near the bright star Spica in the constellation Virgo. Mars is setting at 1:20 a.m. at midweek.

Saturn is a little higher and further to the east from Mars and is setting at 2:45 a.m. at midweek. Look for Saturn right above the moon on Monday night.

Venus is still rising about two hours before the sun and is shining brightly as the morning star.

Mercury is at its greatest elongation west on Saturday so you might be able to catch it this week low in the east before dawn.

In space anniversaries this week, 35 years ago on Wednesday the 9th, the Voyager 2 spacecraft had its closest approach to Jupiter, becoming the fourth mission to fly by the planet. Two days later, on July 11th, the Skylab space station re-entered the Earth's atmosphere with debris landing across the Indian Ocean and Western Australia.

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.