skywatchers report

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

The moon is new on Friday March 7th and will be at first quarter on Friday the 14th.

The crescent moon joins the cluster of planets visible in the east before sunrise in the first few days of March. On the morning of the 4th, the thin crescent of the moon is between Jupiter and Mercury and Venus, which are still close to each other low in the sky before sunrise. On the morning of the 5th, the moon will cozy up to the two inner planets. The moon will actually move in front of Venus during the day on the 5th in what is known as an occultation. Although it will be in the middle of the day, the occultation should be visible with a telescope.

Mars is still visible overhead as the sky darkens after sunset. The red planet is setting around 2:30 a.m for the first half of March. Look for the Moon and Mars to pair up on the night of the 14th. Saturn is rising at 5:30 p.m. at the beginning of March so it is now higher in the sky once evening twilight ends.

On Sunday the 9th, Daylight Saving Time begins and we move our clocks ahead an hour, officially skipping the 2 a.m. hour on Sunday morning.

Public viewing at the 16-inch reflector on top of Robert Lee Moore Hall is on Wednesday nights 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. There will be no public viewing on March 12. Beginning March 19th the viewing times will be 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. through the end of the spring semester.

Public viewing at the 9 inch refractor at Painter Hall is on Friday and Saturday nights 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. There will be no Painter Hall viewing on March 14 and 15. Beginning with the March 21 and 22 viewing, the times will be 8:30 to 10:30 p.m.

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.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report.