Skywatchers Report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday August 5 through Sunday August 11.

The moon is at first quarter on Wednesday the 7th so we'll start the week with a waxing crescent moon and finish with a waxing gibbous moon.

Mercury is at greatest elongation on Friday the 9th and on that day it is rising about an hour and a half before the sun. If you have a good view of the eastern horizon before sunrise, that will be a good time to try to catch it.

Venus is headed towards conjunction with the sun and is now lost in the sun's glare.

Mars is now setting less than half an hour after the sun as it moves towards conjunction with the sun in early September.

Jupiter is high in the south at sunset and it is setting at 2:25 a.m. at midweek. Look for Jupiter to the lower right of the moon on Friday night.

Saturn is up in the southeast at sundown and is setting at 4:35 a.m. Saturn will be to the lower left of the moon on Sunday night.

In space anniversaries from this past weekend, Saturday August 3rd marked 15 years since the launch of the MESSENGER spacecraft, which became the first probe to orbit Mercury in 2011. The mission ended in 2015 through a controlled impact onto Mercury's surface.

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.

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

Next week will be the final week of telescope viewing 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.