skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday February 11th through Sunday February 17th.

The moon is at first quarter on Sunday the 17th so we will see a waxing crescent moon in the early evening skies for all of this week.

Mars and Mercury are still relatively close to one another low in the west-southwest, although not as close as they were last week when they came within one third of a degree of one another. Mars is setting at 7:20 p.m., followed by Mercury 20 minutes later. Mercury will reach its greatest elongation east on Saturday and then will start to slowly sink back towards the sun.

Jupiter is nearly overhead as the sky darkens in the early evening and is setting at 2:05 a.m. at midweek. Look for the first quarter moon near Jupiter and the Pleiades on Sunday night.

Saturn is now finally rising a little before midnight as it slowly makes its way back to our early evening skies in the late spring. Saturn will rise at 11:50 p.m. at midweek and is visible for the remainder of the night.

In the early morning skies, Venus is rising at 6:45 a.m., just 25 minutes before the sun.

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.