Skywatchers Report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday August 24th through Sunday August 30th.

The moon is at first quarter on Tuesday and then we’ll have a waxing gibbous moon for the remainder of the week.

Mercury is emerging into the evening skies after last week’s conjunction but is still setting only half an hour after the sun.

Jupiter and Saturn are still together in the southeast as the sky darkens. Jupiter is setting at 3:30 a.m. at midweek followed by Saturn at 4:10 a.m. Jupiter will be above the moon on Friday night and Saturn will be to the upper right of the moon on Saturday night.

Mars is rising at 10:30 p.m. at midweek and is now at magnitude -1.7, making it brighter than Sirius, the brightest star in our night sky.

Venus is rising at 3:40 a.m., still over three hours before sunrise.

In space news, the Mars 2020 Perseverance mission continues on track to the Red Planet and the small onboard helicopter named “Ingenuity” received its first check and recharge of its power system while in flight. “Ingenuity” will be the first test of whether or not powered, controlled flight by an aircraft can be achieved in the thin atmosphere of Mars. You can follow along with all of NASA’s Mars missions at mars.nasa.gov

All public viewing events on UT campus telescopes are on hold for the remainder of 2020. We will update the website outreach.as.utexas.edu with a new schedule when we are able to resume viewing.

While you’re waiting for in-person telescope viewing to resume, McDonald Observatory has been live-streaming night sky tours from west Texas. You can view past events on the McDonald Observatory YouTube channel and you can follow the observatory on Twitter and Facebook to be notified of future events.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers Report.