skywatchers report

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

The moon is full on Sunday night. The full moon for the month of July is called the Grain moon and the Thunder moon.

The now-familiar lights of Venus and Saturn in the western skies are continuing to sink lower each night and will soon be in conjunction with the sun. Both will set before 10 p.m. this week. If you look at Venus in a telescope, you will see that it is now a very slim crescent shape.

The bright object in the south as the sky darkens is Jupiter, still in the top of the constellation Scorpius. The moon will move past Jupiter early in the week, starting to the lower right of the planet on Tuesday the 24th and will be to the lower left of Jupiter on the 25th.

Mars is rising at a little before 2 a.m. this week. Mercury is visible in the east, rising about an hour before the sun.

The dust storm continues on Mars, and the Opportunity rover is still experiencing very low power levels due to the small amount of sunlight getting to the rover’s solar panels. The Spirit rover, however, is on the other side of the planet where the dust storm isn’t as strong. The NASA Mars exploration program is online at mars.jpl.nasa.gov

Public viewing at the 16-inch reflector on top of Robert Lee Moore Hall is on Wednesday nights from 9 to 10:30 p.m. 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 to 10:30 p.m. Painter Hall is located on 24th street about halfway between Speedway and Guadalupe and is northeast of the UT Tower.

All events are free and open to all ages and no reservations are required. Note that viewing times and availability change throughout the year. Observing events are weather permitting. Please call 232-4265 for weather cancellation information, which is updated 30 to 60 minutes before viewing start time on nights when public viewing is cancelled.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report.