skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday February 14th through Sunday February 20th.

The full moon for the month of February is in the morning hours of Friday the 18th so we will have a waxing gibbous moon for most of the workweek and a waning gibbous moon this weekend. The full moon of February is known as the Snow Moon, the Wolf Moon and the Hunger Moon.

Jupiter is up in the west at sunset and it setting at 9 p.m. at midweek. Saturn is rising a little before 10 p.m. and will be visible for the remainder of the night. Venus rises at about 4:30 a.m. and is visible in the south east as dawn breaks. Mercury is lost in the sun's glare is it heads towards conjunction next week, while Mars is also lost in the sun's glare as it emerges from conjunction.

Earlier this month, the two spacecraft of the STEREO mission reached their points on opposite sides of the sun and 90 degree angles to the Earth, allowing us to see the complete Sun at one time for the first time ever. As activity of the current solar cycle ramps up, this will give us the opportunity to track regions that may produce solar flares before they are facing the earth as well as study coronal mass ejections as they spread out into space. To see images from the spacecraft and learn more about its mission, logon to stereo.gsfc.nasa.gov

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.