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Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday August 3rd through Sunday August 9th.

The full moon for the month of August is on Monday the 3rd and then we’ll have a waning gibbous moon for the rest of the week. This full moon is known as the Grain Moon and the Green Corn Moon.

Jupiter and Saturn are close to one another shining brightly in the southeast at sundown and are up for most of the night. Mars follows at 11:35 p.m. Look for Mars less than a degree from the moon on Saturday night.

Venus is rising at 3:30 a.m., over three hours before sunrise. Mercury is moving back towards the sun and is up about an hour before sunrise.

In space news from last week, the Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover successfully launched on July 30th and is now on its way to the Red Planet. Its landing is set for February 18, 2021 in the Jezero Crater in the Syrtis Major area of Mars.

And over the weekend, the SpaceX Crew Dragon Demo-2 mission splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday marking the first time in 45 years that US astronauts have returned to Earth with a water landing. Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley were aboard the International Space Station for two months and were the first astronauts to launch in the Commercial Crew Program. The first operational mission of the Commercial Crew Program is due to launch with four crew members in late September 2020.

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.