skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Tuesday July 22nd through Sunday July 27th.

The new moon for the month of July is on Saturday the 26th, so we'll have a waning crescent moon for most of the week.

Jupiter is in conjunction with the sun on Thursday the 24th and will pass from our evening skies into the morning skies after it emerges from the Sun's glare.

Mars is still near the bright star Spica in the southwest at sunset and is setting at 12:45 a.m. at midweek.

Saturn is a little further to the left of Mars and is setting about an hour later.

Venus is still rising two hours before the sun and is easily visible in the pre-dawn skies. A very thin crescent moon will be about 4 degrees from Venus on Thursday morning.

Mercury is now sinking back towards the sun and is rising a little over an hour before the sun at midweek, so you may be able to catch it with a good view of the eastern horizon.

In space anniversaries, 30 years ago on July 25th, Cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya became the first woman to walk in space. And 15 years ago, on July 23rd, the Space Shuttle Columbia launched under the command of astronaut Eileen Collins, the first woman to command a space shuttle mission. The crew of Columbia launched the Chandra X-ray observatory during their 5-day mission.

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.