Skywatchers Report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday August 6th through Sunday August 12th.

The new moon for the month of August is early on Saturday the 11th so we'll have a waning crescent moon for the work week and the start of a waxing crescent moon by the end of the weekend. There will be a partial solar eclipse with this new moon which will be visible in eastern Canada, Greenland, northernmost Europe and north and eastern Asia.

The lack of moonlight will also be good for viewing of this year's Perseid meteor shower, which peaks late on Sunday night into the morning hours of Monday August 13th, although it is active for a few weeks before and after. The meteors get their name because the appear to come from a point in the constellation Perseus and are caused by the particles from comet Swift-Tuttle entering the Earth's atmosphere. The Perseids are one of the most reliable showers each year, often having at least 60 meteors an hour at its peak.

Mercury is in inferior conjunction with the sun on Thursday the 9th so it will pass between the Earth and the Sun and move from our evening skies into our morning skies.

Venus still dominates the western skies after sunset and is setting at 10:25 p.m.

Jupiter is higher up in the southwest and is setting at 12:40 a.m. this week.

Saturn is up in the south-southeast and is setting at 3:45 a.m.

Mars is up in the southeast and is setting at 5:40 a.m. so it is still visible for most of the night.

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. Please arrive at RLM before 10 p.m. to ensure access to the building. This week will be the final week of summer session viewing at the RLM telescope.

Public viewing at the Painter Hall Telescope has finished for the summer.

Fall semester viewing on both telescopes 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.