skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for Monday August 20th through Sunday the 26th.

The moon is at first quarter on Monday the 20th. Jupiter is now in the south-southwest as the sky darkens. Look for the moon below Jupiter on Tuesday and the bright orange star Antares is visible just off the moon’s upper limb.

Mars is rising at about 1:00 a.m. this week and continues to slowly brighten. Speaking of Mars, if you’ve gotten an email saying that the Red Planet is going to be super close to the earth at the end of the month and will look as large as the full moon, don’t believe it! The email has been recycled from when Mars really did make a close approach to the earth back in 2003. And, there is no way that Mars can look as large as the full moon to the naked eye from here on Earth. But, if you do want to stay up that night, you can catch a lunar eclipse in the morning hours of August 28th. For those of us here in Central Texas, the eclipse will begin at 3:51 a.m. and will end at sunrise. We’ll give the exact times for the various parts of the eclipse in next week’s recording.

Saturn is in conjunction with the sun on Tuesday the 21st. We can’t see the ringed planet from Earth now, but the SOHO spacecraft can see planets as they pass near the sun with its coronagraph camera. The camera has a disc that blocks out the sun to study the outer solar atmosphere, but is also able to see any stars, planets or comets that pass very close to the sun. You can see up to date images from SOHO at their website at sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov or go to the link at the bottom of spaceweather.com

Public viewing is currently on hiatus for the remainder of the summer. Fall viewing will resume in September. Please call back next week for the starting dates and times.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report.