Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for Monday February 9th through Sunday the 15th.
The full moon for the month of February was on the morning of Monday the 9th. This full moon is known as the Snow Moon, the Wolf Moon and the Hunger Moon. Because the earth, sun and moon are still roughly aligned, there was an eclipse with this full moon. But, this was what is known as a penumbral eclipse, meaning that the moon moved through the outermost part of the Earth’s shadow, so it wasn’t as dramatic as an eclipse where the moon moves through the umbra, or innermost part of the shadow.
Mercury is at greatest elongation west on Friday morning, so it will be up an hour and a half before the sun. Mars and Jupiter are now up about an hour before the sun.
Venus is still dominating the western skies after sunset and is shining at magnitude -4.6. If you look at Venus with a telescope you will see that the planet is actually currently showing a crescent phase. Saturn is rising a little after 8 p.m. at midweek. Look for it near the moon on Tuesday night.
The mission of Space Shuttle Discovery to the International Space Station that was due to launch this week has been pushed back to no earlier than February 22nd. Stay tuned to www.nasa.gov for more information.
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.