Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday February 29th through Sunday March 6th.
The moon is at third quarter late on Tuesday March 1st, so we'll start the week with a waning gibbous moon and have a waning crescent moon for the remainder of the week.
Jupiter rises at 6:45 p.m. at midweek as it heads towards opposition next week. Until the other bright planets start to catch up with Jupiter, it will be our dominant planet in the early evening skies for the next couple of months.
Mars is rising at 12:15 a.m. and will soon start to grow in brightness and angular size as we get near its closest approach to the Earth at the end of May.
Saturn is rising at 1:30 a.m. so you now have a few hours to observe it before the dawn twilight begins. Look for Saturn to the right of the waning crescent moon on the morning of Wednesday March 2nd.
Venus is rising at 5:45 a.m. and Mercury rounds out the naked eye planets at 6:15 a.m., 40 minutes before sunrise.
The annual Explore UT open house is this Saturday, March 5th from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The department of Astronomy will be hosting events on the roof of Robert Lee Moore Hall throughout the day, including a daytime look at Venus and safe solar viewing through small telescopes with solar filters. You can find out about all of the events on campus at exploreut.utexas.edu
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 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.