Skywatchers Report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday August 19th through Sunday August 25th.

The moon is at third quarter on Friday the 23rd so we'll have a waning gibbous moon for most of the week and a waning crescent moon for the weekend.

Venus is emerging from last week's conjunction with the sun and is still lost in the sun's glare. Venus will slowly move away from the sun over the next few months and will be visible low in the west after sunset.

Mars is not far from Venus and is headed towards conjunction with the sun in early September.

Jupiter is still high in the south at sundown and is setting at 1:30 a.m. at midweek.

Saturn is up in the southeast as night falls and is setting at 3:40 a.m. at midweek.

Mercury is rising at 6:00 a.m. an hour before the sun rises, so you might still be able to catch it if you have a clear view of the eastern horizon.

In space anniversaries this week, Sunday August 25th marks 30 years since the Voyager 2 spacecraft became the first mission to fly by the planet Neptune. Voyager 2 launched in August 1977 and flew past Jupiter in July 1979, Saturn in August 1981, Uranus in January 1986 and then Neptune in August 1989. After the Neptune encounter the spacecraft began the Interstellar Mission phase which it continues to this day, 42 years after launch. Voyager 2 is currently 11.2 billion miles from the Earth while its twin Voyager 1, is now 13.6 billion miles from the Earth. You can learn more about the Voyager mission and keep up with the spacecrafts' ever-increasing distance from the Earth at voyager.jpl.nasa.gov

Public viewing on UT campus telescopes has finished for the summer session. Fall semester viewing will start in early September. Please check back for details on starting dates and times.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers Report.