Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday February 4th through Sunday February 10th.
The new moon for the month of February is on the night of Saturday the 9th, so we will have a waning crescent moon in the morning skies all of this week.
Mercury and Mars are both setting a little more than an hour after the sun this week and will be very close to one another low in the west-southwest shortly after sunset. They will be separated by about a third of a degree at the end of the week and within the same field of binoculars or small telescopes.
Jupiter is high and nearly overhead at sunset this week and is setting at 2:30 a.m. Saturn is rising at 12:30 a.m. this week and is visible for the remainder of the night. Venus is rising at 6:40 a.m., now just 35 minutes before the sun.
The 21st annual Great Lecture in Astronomy will be this Saturday, February 9th from 1 to 2 p.m. in the Avaya Auditorium of the ACES building on the UT campus. The talk will be by Volker Bromm on the subject of the "First Stars and Galaxies". The event is free and open to the public. For more information, check the Department of Astronomy website at www.as.utexas.edu
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.