skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for February 16 through the 22.

The new moon for the month of February is on Friday the 20th.

If you go outside at around 8:30 this week, you can see four of the five naked eye planets tracing out the plane of the solar system, known as the ecliptic. Setting in the west is brilliant Venus, with a faint Mars about halfway between Venus and the Pleiades star cluster, which is commonly called the Seven Sisters. Saturn is nearly overhead and a very bright Jupiter is coming up in the east.

Both of the twin Mars rovers are now out exploring their surroundings on opposite sides of the planet and sending back remarkable pictures and science data. Follow the missions online at jpl.nasa.gov

For more skywatching tips for the week check out stardate.org

The telescope at Robert Lee Moore Hall is open to the public on Wednesday nights starting at 7:00 p.m. RLM is located on the southeast corner of Dean Keeton and Speedway. Take the elevators to the 17th floor and follow the signs to the telescope.

Due to a technical problem at the Painter Hall telescope, the Friday and Saturday 8 to 10 p.m. night public viewing has been temporarily moved to Robert Lee Moore Hall's telescope.

All events are free and open to all ages and no reservations are required. Observing events are weather permitting. Call 232-4265 for up-to-date cancellation information.

Please note that star party times change throughout the year. Please call this recording to check times before planning a visit to the telescopes.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report.