Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday February 19th through Sunday February 25th.
The moon is at first quarter on early on Friday morning, so we'll have a waxing crescent moon in our early evening skies for the work week and a waxing gibbous moon on the weekend.
Mercury is emerging from conjunction in the evening skies but is setting just 20 minutes after the sun, so it is lost in the sun's glare.
Venus is a little higher than Mercury but is still hard to pick out in the early evening twilight as it sets 50 minutes after the sun.
Jupiter is rising at 12:25 a.m. so there is now quite a bit of dark time to observe the gas giant.
Mars is rising at 2:15 a.m. and is still fairly small and faint in telescopes before it heads towards closest approach in the summer.
Saturn is rising at 3:45 a.m., about three and a half hours before sunrise.
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. Take the elevator to the 5th floor then take the stairs up to the 6th floor 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 so please check the schedule before planning a visit. Observing events are weather permitting. Please call 512-232-4265 for weather cancellation information, which is updated 30 to 45 minutes before the scheduled viewing start time.
Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers Report.