skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for February 18th to the 24th.

The moon is at first quarter phase on Wednesday the 20th.

As the moon grows during the week, it will have a couple of close encounters with the two largest planets in the solar system. On Wednesday the moon will move past Saturn. In some locations, including North America, the moon will move in front of Saturn in what is known as an occultation. The ringed planet will move from out behind the moon a little before 7:00 p.m. here in Texas.

The moon will visit Jupiter a couple of days later on Friday the 22nd. From our view here in Texas we won't be able to see the moon actually occult Jupiter, although viewers further north will.

Sharp eyed observers with a good view of the western horizon should be able to catch Venus just after sunset. Venus was at superior conjunction with the Sun in mid-January and is just now starting to get far enough away to be seen.

The telescope at Robert Lee Moore hall is open to the public on Wednesday nights at 7 p.m. The building is located on the southeast corner of Dean Keeton (formerly 26th street) and Speedway. Take the elevator to the 17th floor and follow the signs to the telescope.

The telescope at Painter hall is open on Fridays for UT students, faculty and staff from 7 to 8 p.m. and Saturdays are open to the general public from 7 to 9 p.m. Painter Hall is located on 24th street about half way between Speedway and Guadalupe.

All events are free and open to all ages and no reservations are required. Observing events are weather permitting.