Skywatchers Report

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

The full moon for the month of July is on Friday July 27th so we'll start the week with a waxing gibbous moon and finish with a waning gibbous moon this weekend. This full moon is known as the Hay Moon and the Thunder Moon.

After the partial solar eclipse two weeks ago, the Earth, Moon, and Sun are still lined up and some parts of the globe will see a total lunar eclipse with this full moon. Unfortunately, no part of the eclipse will be visible here in the United States.

Mercury is starting to sink back towards the sun and is setting at 9:15 p.m. at midweek. Venus is shining brightly in the west at sunset and is setting at 10:45 p.m. Jupiter is up in the south-southwest at sundown and is setting at 1:30 a.m.

Saturn is up in the southeast at nightfall and is setting at 4:40 a.m. Look for Saturn below the moon on Tuesday night.

Mars is at opposition on Thursday night into Friday morning so it is rising at sunset and setting at sunrise. It's actual closest approach to the Earth will come next week. Mars is now at magnitude -2.8 in brightness and 24.2 arcseconds in size, it's best view since 2003.

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 Fridays and Saturdays 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. Take the elevator to the 5th floor and then take the stairs up to the 6th floor and follow the signs to the telescope.

This week will be the final week of viewing at the Painter Hall Telescope for this summer. RLM viewing will continue into August.

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. Please arrive at RLM or Painter Hall before 10 p.m. to ensure access to the buildings.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers Report.