skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday July 14th through Monday July 21st.

The moon is at third quarter on Friday night so we'll start the week with a waning gibbous moon and have a waning crescent for the weekend.

Jupiter is now lost in the sun's glare as it heads towards conjunction next week.

Mars is up in the southwest and is setting at 1:00 a.m. and is still near the blue-white star Spica. Saturn is up in the south-southwest at sundown and is setting at 2:20 a.m. at midweek.

Venus is up at 4:45 a.m., still about two hours before the sun. Mercury is nearby, rising at 5:15 a.m. so you should be able to spot it in the dawn skies if you have a good view of the eastern horizon.

In space anniversaries, this week marks the 45th anniversary of the first lunar landing with the Apollo 11 mission. The mission launched with Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins aboard the Saturn V rocket on the morning of July 16, 1969. The mission landed on the moon on July 20th and Armstrong and Aldrin performed about two and a half hours of extravehicular activities while Collins orbited the moon in the Command Module "Columbia". You can learn more about the mission and the 45th anniversary commemoration at www.nasa.gov

20 years ago this week, the fragments of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 impacted the planet Jupiter. The comet was discovered in March 1993 by Carolyn and Eugene Shoemaker and David Levy and orbital calculations showed that the comet fragments would impact Jupiter the following year. The impacts started on July 16, 1994 and continued for six days with 21 distinct impacts observed.

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.