skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for July 23rd through the 29th.

The moon is at first quarter on Friday the 27th.

Mars is just about due south as evening twilight ends. Last Friday was the 25th anniversary of the first successful landing on the red planet, as well as the 32nd anniversary of the first manned moon-landing. The Mars Exploration Homepage from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory has information on the Viking missions as well as current exploration and observations. The web address is mars.jpl.nasa.gov

Although Mercury has left the sky, you can still see three bright planets in the east before dawn. Saturn is up near the red star Aldebaran in the horns of Taurus the Bull. Jupiter and Venus are lower to the horizon, but very bright.

The Delta Aquarid south meteor shower is due to peak this weekend, but the growing moon will probably wash out some of the meteors. This shower can produce around 20 meteors an hour. The streaks of light will appear to come from a point in the constellation Aquarius, which rises above the eastern horizon a little after midnight. The best shower of the summer is yet to come with the peak of the Perseids in August.

Wednesday night public viewing is held at Robert Lee Moore Hall and will begin at 9:00 p.m. The building is located at the southeast corner of Dean Keeton (formerly 26th street) and Speedway. Take the elevators to the 17th floor and follow the signs to the telescope.

Viewing at the Painter Hall telescope for the general public is on Saturdays from 9:00 to 11:00 p.m. and Friday nights are open for UT students, faculty and staff from 9:00 to 10:00 p.m. Painter Hall is located on 24th street about halfway between Speedway and Guadalupe.

All events are free and open to all ages and no reservations are required. Observing events are weather permitting.