skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for Monday February 1st to Sunday the 7th.

The moon is at third quarter on Friday February 5th, so we will have a waning gibbous moon for most of this week.

Saturn is rising at 10 p.m. this week. Look for the moon above and to the right of Saturn on the 1st and below and to the right on the 2nd. Jupiter is now low in the west-southwest and sets at 7:30 p.m. at midweek. Venus is slowly starting to move away from the sun, but is still setting less than half an hour after sunset. Mars is visible in the east-northeast in the evening twilight and is visible almost all night long. Mercury is rising over an hour before the sun, so you might be able to catch it before the sky brightens in the morning.

The Space Shuttle Endeavour is scheduled to lift off on a mission to the International Space station early in the morning hours of Sunday the 7th. Endeavour will deliver the Tranquility node and a 7-windowed cupola to the station.

Last week NASA decided to designate the Mars Rover Spirit as a stationary science platform since she has been unable to free herself from the sand trap she became stuck in 10 months ago. If Spirit can survive the Martian winter she will continue to do science from her new stationary spot. Meanwhile, on the other side of Mars, Spirit’s twin rover Opportunity continues to move towards Endeavour Crater and has moved a total of about 12 miles since landing on Mars six years ago.

Public viewing at the 16-inch reflector on top of Robert Lee Moore Hall is on Wednesday nights currently from 7 to 9 p.m. RLM 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.

Public viewing at the 9 inch refractor at Painter Hall is on Friday and Saturday nights currently from 7 to 9 p.m. Painter Hall is located on 24th street about halfway between Speedway and Guadalupe and is northeast of the UT Tower. To get to the telescope, take the elevator to the 5th floor and exit to the left. Follow the 5th floor hallway to the end and take the staircase through the double doors on the left. Once you reach the 6th floor, go to your right and follow the signs up to the telescope.

All events are free and open to all ages and no reservations are required. Note that viewing times and availability change throughout the year. Observing events are weather permitting. Please call 232-4265 for weather cancellation information, which is updated 30 to 60 minutes before the scheduled viewing start time when a viewing is cancelled.

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