Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday February 6th through Sunday February 12th.
The full moon for the month of February is on Tuesday the 7th. This full moon is known as the Snow Moon, the Wolf Moon and the Hunger Moon.
Mercury is at superior conjunction with the sun on Tuesday morning, when it will pass behind the sun from the Earth's point of view. Venus continues to shine brightly in the west after sunset and it setting at 9:25 p.m. at midweek. On Thursday night, Uranus will be less than half a degree away from Venus, so you should be able to see them both in a low-magnification telescope or binoculars. Jupiter is high in the west at sundown and is setting a little before midnight this week. Mars is rising at 8:30 p.m. at midweek. Look for it as an orange star-like object next to the moon on Thursday night. Saturn is rising at 11:20 p.m. at midweek and is visible for the remainder of the night.
The 20th annual "Great Lecture in Astronomy" will be held this Saturday at 1 p.m. in the Avaya Auditorium of the ACES building on the UT Campus. This year's talk is entitled "A New Job for Telescopes: Making Solar Electricity" and it will be presented by Roger Angel, Director of the Steward Observatory Mirror Lab and Regents Professor of Astronomy and Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona. The lecture is free and open to the public, although you may have to pay to park. Please see the Department of Astronomy website for more information 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.