skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday August 13th through Sunday August 26th.

The new moon for the month of August is on the night of Friday the 17th. The moon will be at first quarter on Friday August 24th.

The relative movements of Mars, Saturn and Spica will continue over the next couple of weeks in the west-southwest. On Monday the 13th they will be roughly in a line with Spica to the lower right, Mars in the middle and Saturn at the upper left. That night Mars will be setting at 11:05 p.m. followed by Saturn 15 minutes later. By Sunday the 19th the three will be a triangle again, this time with Mars to the left of Saturn and Spica. Mars and Saturn will both set a little before 11 p.m. on the 19th. On Sunday August 26th Saturn will be setting at 10:30 p.m. followed by Mars at 10:40 p.m. Look for a thin crescent moon with the triangle of Mars, Saturn and Spica on Tuesday the 21st.

In the morning skies Jupiter is rising at 1:45 a.m. on the 14th, 1:30 a.m. on the 19th and at 1:05 a.m. on Sunday the 26th. Jupiter still has quite a few double shadow transits to see with telescopes this month.

Venus is rising at 3:30 a.m. on the 14th and just a few minutes later at 3:35 a.m. on the 26th. Venus is at its greatest elongation west on Wednesday the 15th. 

Early risers can also get a good view of Mercury right now, which reaches its greatest elongation west just a day after Venus’. Mercury rises at 5:35 a.m. on the 14th and closer to 6 a.m. by Sunday the 26th.

Color and high resolution images from the Curiosity rover on Mars have started to come in, giving a preview of the spectacular imagery and science we can expect from the Mars Science Laboratory over the coming years. You can keep up with the latest from Curiosity at http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl

Public viewing on UT campus telescopes has finished for the summer. Fall semester viewing will start in early September.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers Report.