skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for March 3rd through the 16th.

The new moon for the month of March was on the night of the second or morning of the 3rd depending on whether you go by local or universal time. The moon will be at first quarter on Tuesday the 11th.

Saturn will be above and to the left of the moon on the 10th, and below and to the right of the moon on the 11th. Jupiter will pair up with the moon on the night of the 14th.

Venus rises about two hours before the sun in the east-southeastern skies. Mars rises around 2:30 a.m. at mid-month.

Preparations are underway for the scheduled May and June launches of the next wave of Mars exploration missions. These two spacecraft will carry landers and rovers similar to the very successful 1997 Mars Pathfinder mission. The spacecraft are expected to land in January 2004. To learn more about the mission, see the Jet Propulsion's Mars website at https://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/ and click on Mars Exploration Rover Mission.

The telescope at Robert Lee Moore Hall is open to the public on Wednesday nights starting at 7:00 p.m. RLM is located on the southeast corner of Dean Keeton and Speedway. Take the elevators to the 17th floor and follow the signs to the telescope.

The telescope at Painter hall is open on Fridays for UT students, faculty and staff from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. and Saturdays are open to the general public from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Painter Hall is located on 24th street about half way between Speedway and Guadalupe.

All events are free and open to all ages and no reservations are required. Observing events are weather permitting. Please note that star party times change throughout the year. Please call this recording to check times and availability before planning a visit to the telescopes.

Please note that there will be no public viewing with week of March 10th through the 16th due to UT's Spring Break.