Skywatchers Report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday July 8th through Sunday July 14th.

The moon is at first quarter early on Tuesday the 9th and then we'll have a waxing gibbous moon for the remainder of the week.

Mercury and Mars have now moved further away from each other low in the west after sunset as Mercury moves more rapidly towards conjunction with the sun. Mercury is setting at 9:15 p.m. at midweek, followed by Mars at 9:40 p.m.

Jupiter is high in the southeast by 9:00 p.m. and is setting at 4:20 a.m. Jupiter will be about two degrees to the right of the Moon on Saturday night.

Saturn is at opposition on Tuesday the 9th so it is rising at sunset and sets at sunrise and is visible for the entire night. This is also the point that Saturn is at its closest to the Earth and at its brightest. But don't worry if you can't see it that night, Saturn will be a great object to observe all summer.

Venus is rising at 6 a.m., about 40 minutes before the sun.

In space anniversaries this week, Tuesday July 9th marks 40 years since the Voyager 2 spacecraft made its closest approach to Jupiter. Voyager 2 was the fourth spacecraft to fly past Jupiter, following Pioneer 10, Pioneer 11, and Voyager 1. Two days later on July 11, the Skylab space station re-entered the Earth's atmosphere, spreading debris from the southeastern Indian Ocean onto land in 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 Fridays and Saturdays 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. Take the elevator to the 5th floor and then take the stairs up to the 6th floor and follow the signs to the telescope.

Please arrive at RLM or Painter Hall before 10 p.m. to ensure access to the buildings.

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.