Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday February 28th through March 6th.
The new moon for the month of March is late on the night of Thursday the 3rd so we will see a waning crescent moon for the first part of the week and a waxing crescent moon for the weekend.
Jupiter is visible in the west after sunset and it setting at 8:30 p.m. at midweek and Saturn rises in the east just 10 minutes later and is visible for the rest of the night. Venus rises at 4:45 a.m. and is visible in the southeast as dawn twilight begins. Look for a nice pairing of Venus and the crescent moon in the morning hours of March 1st. Mercury and Mars are still lost in the sun's glare.
The Space Shuttle Discovery launched on its final mission last Thursday and docked with the International Space Station on Saturday. This mission will deliver a module to the ISS that will provide more storage space and an additional area 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. You can learn more about this mission and the Space Shuttle Program at www.nasa.gov/shuttle
Saturday March 5th is the annual University of Texas open house, Explore UT. The Astronomy Dept and McDonald observatory will have some exhibits and demonstrations, along with the hundreds of other events that will be going on all day all around campus. You can view the complete schedule on the web at www.utexas.edu/events/exploreut
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.