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Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday April 22 through Sunday April 28.

The full moon for the month of April is on Tuesday the 23rd, so we’ll start the week at the end of the waxing gibbous phase and then we’ll have a waning gibbous moon for the remainder of the week. This full moon is known as the Egg Moon and the Grass Moon.

Jupiter is low in the west at sunset and is setting at 9:20 p.m. at midweek. Jupiter is about a month away from conjunction with the sun when it will join the rest of the naked eye planets in the morning sky.

And over in the morning skies, Saturn is rising at 4:40 a.m. with Mars following at 5:05 a.m. Mercury is still moving away from the sun after its last conjunction and is rising at 6:00 a.m. Venus is moving back towards the sun and its next conjunction and is rising at 6:25 a.m. at midweek.

The Lyrids meteor shower peaked late last week and continues into the early part of this week, but unfortunately this year’s shower will have a lot of interference from the full moon. The Lyrids get their name because they appear to come from the constellation Lyra, which is fully above the horizon by 11 p.m. and is recognizable by its bright star Vega. The meteors are caused by the Earth passing through the debris of Comet Thatcher, which has an orbital period of 422 years and last made its closest approach to the Sun in 1861. In a year with better viewing conditions, this shower will usually produce around 20 meteors an hour.

Public viewing at the 16-inch reflector on top of the Physics, Math, and Astronomy building is on Wednesday nights now from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. PMA 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.

Next week will be the final week of viewing at the PMA telescope for the Spring 2024 semester.

Public viewing at the 9-inch refractor at Painter Hall is on Friday and Saturday nights now from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. Painter Hall is located on 24th street about halfway between Speedway and Guadalupe and is northeast of the UT Tower. Take the elevator to the 5th floor then take the stairs up to the 6th floor and follow the signs up to the telescope.

This week will be the final week of viewing at the Painter Hall Telescope for the Spring 2024 semester.

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.