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 late on Monday the 4th and the moon will reach first quarter early next week, so we'll have a waxing crescent moon in our early evening skies for the whole week.
Mercury is emerging from conjunction and is setting about 20 minutes after the sun at midweek.
Mars is up in the southwest at sunset and is setting at 11:20 p.m. Uranus is a few degrees up and to the left of Mars this week and the crescent moon will be to the left of the pair on Sunday the 10th.
In the morning skies, Jupiter is rising at 3:25 a.m. followed by Venus at 4:30 a.m. and Saturn at 5:20 a.m.
In space anniversaries this week, Thursday February 7th marks 20 years since the launch of the Stardust probe, designed to bring back a sample of the comet Wild 2. The samples of the comet were captured in the ultra low density aerogel material and were returned to earth in 2006 in a sample return capsule. The overall mission concluded in 2011.
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. Take the elevator to the 5th floor then take the stairs up to the 6th floor 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 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.