skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday August 4th through Sunday 10th.

The full moon for the month of August is on Sunday the 10th. This full moon is known as the Grain Moon and the Green Corn Moon. This full moon occurs very close to perigee, the moon's closest point to the earth in its orbit, so expect very high tides that day. This will also be the largest full moon of 2014. With the first quarter moon occurring late last Sunday and the full moon this Sunday, we will have a waxing gibbous moon for nearly all of this week.

Mercury is in superior conjunction with the sun when it will pass behind the sun from the Earth's point of view. Mercury will reemerge in our early evening skies over the next few weeks.

Mars and Saturn are still visible in the southwest at sundown, along with the star Spica in the constellation Virgo. Mars and Saturn will continue to move closer to one another for the next couple of weeks. Mars is currently setting at 12:10 a.m. at midweek, followed by Saturn at 12:55 a.m.

Venus is up in the east-northeast at 5:15 a.m., about an hour and a half before the sun. Jupiter is still emerging from conjunction and is up a little after 6 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.

Next week will be the final week of public viewing on UT campus telescopes for the summer session. Fall semester viewing will start in early September.

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.