skywatchers report

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

The moon is at first quarter early Thursday morning so we will have a waxing crescent moon to start the week and a waxing gibbous moon for the remainder of the week.

Mercury is in inferior conjunction with the Sun on Saturday the 28th when it will pass between the Earth and the Sun, but will not transit it as Venus did last month. The next time Mercury will be aligned so that it will cross the Sun's disc will be in May 2016.

Mars is up in the west-southwest at sunset and is setting at 11:50 pm. Look for Mars to the upper right of the crescent moon on Tuesday night. Saturn and Spica are up in the southwest at nightfall with Saturn being the higher of the two. Look for them to the right of the moon on Wednesday.

The summer constellation of Scorpius is now high in the south at 10 p.m. and is a good target for scanning with binoculars from a dark location.

Jupiter and Venus are now starting to pull away from one another in the morning skies, although both are still visible in the east before dawn. Jupiter is rising at 2:50 a.m. followed by Venus at 3:40 a.m.

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. Observing events are weather permitting. Please call 232-4265 for weather cancellation information, which is updated 30 to 60 minutes before the scheduled start time when a viewing is cancelled.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers Report.