Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday August 6th through Sunday August 12th.
The moon is at third quarter on Thursday August 9th.
Mars, Spica and Saturn still form a triangle in the west-southwest after sunset to start the week. Watch as Mars moves between Saturn and Spica as the week progresses and comes within 2 degrees of Spica by the end of the week. Mars is setting at 11:15 p.m. at midweek, followed by Saturn around 11:35 p.m.
Jupiter is rising at 2:00 a.m. and is high in the east at sunrise. Look for the moon and Jupiter close to one another on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Venus is up at 3:30 a.m. and Mercury is up at 5:45 a.m. at midweek.
You have probably seen by now that the Mars Science Laboratory rover "Curiosity" successfully landed on Mars early on Monday morning in the central time zone. You can learn more about the mission and see its first images from the Red Planet at mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl.
One of the best and most reliable meteor showers of the year peaks this weekend. The Perseids, so named because they appear to come from a point in the constellation Perseus, will peak in the early morning hours of Sunday August 12. To observe the shower, just find a dark, safe place to put out a blanket and just look up! The best viewing will come after midnight when our part of the earth has rotated into the shower. The particles that enter our atmosphere and create the Perseids come from debris of the comet Swift-Tuttle.
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.
This is the final week of summer telescope viewing. 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. 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.