skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday February 21st through Sunday February 27th.

The moon is at third quarter on the night of Thursday the 24th, so we will have a waning gibbous moon for the first part of the week and a waning crescent moon for the remainder of the week.

Jupiter is still visible in the west shortly after sunset and sets at 8:45 p.m. at midweek. Saturn rises at 9:20 p.m. and is visible for the rest of the night. Venus rises at 4:45 a.m. and is visible as a bright point in the southeast at dawn. Mercury is at superior conjunction with the sun on the morning of the 25th and will pass from the morning skies into the evening skies. Mars is still lost in the sun's glare.

After several months of delays, the Space Shuttle Discovery is set to launch on its final planned mission on Thursday the 24th. This mission will deliver a module to the International Space Station that will provide more storage space and additional space for experiments. Discovery will also take spare parts to the station and deliver Robonaut 2, a human-like robot that will remain on the station. The space shuttle Discovery first launched in August 1984 and among other achievements, delivered the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit in 1990. You can learn more about this mission and the Space Shuttle Program at www.nasa.gov/shuttle

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.