skywatchers report

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

The moon is full on Wednesday the 20th. If you recall the solar eclipse two weeks ago, it should be of no surprise that things are still lined up enough for there to be a lunar eclipse this week. The entire eclipse will be visible for western Europe and Africa, all of South America and most of North America. For central Texas, the partial eclipse will begin at 7:45 p.m. totality comes at 9 p.m. and ends at 9:51 and the partial eclipse will be finished by 11:09 p.m.

Saturn will be right below the moon during the eclipse and on the 24th, the Ringed Planet will be at opposition, so it will rise at sunset and set as the sun rises. Mars is almost straight overhead at 8:00 p.m. this week.

Jupiter is rising at around 4:30 a.m. and Venus and Mercury are up at 5:45 a.m. so you’ll have a little time to catch these planets before the sun rises.

The National Academies Space Studies Board will be holding a panel discussion and public lecture at the University of Texas on February 20th, this Wednesday. The panel discussion will be on the topic of “The Past and Future of Science and Exploration” and will be held in the Avaya auditorium of the ACES building. The discussion will begin at 3:15 p.m. The public lecture will be in Welch Hall room 2.224 at 7:30 and is entitled “The Possibility of Life Elsewhere in the Universe”. The lecture will be given by one of the foremost researchers in astrobiology, Professor Christopher Chyba. You can find out more about these events and see webcasts of past lectures in the series at the group’s website: www7.nationalacademies.org/ssb After the public lecture, both of our campus telescopes will be open to view a total lunar eclipse.

Public viewing at the 16-inch reflector on top of Robert Lee Moore Hall is on Wednesday nights 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 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. Painter Hall will also be open on Wednesday night from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. for the lunar eclipse.

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.

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