Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for March 4th through the 17th.
The moon is at third quarter in the evening of the 5th and is new on the evening of the 13th.
Venus is starting to emerge from evening twilight and is visible almost due west. Find a place with a good unobstructed view of the western horizon and you should be able to catch the bright planet shortly after sunset.
Although Jupiter and Saturn continue to steal the show, Mars is still visible in the west after dark although it is not very large or very bright right now. Saturn is still in Taurus and is high overhead at sundown. Jupiter is just a bit farther to the east and quite a bit brighter than Saturn. Both will remain good objects for a couple more months.
The space shuttle Columbia successfully launched last week on a mission to upgrade the Hubble Space telescope. Astronauts completed the first of five scheduled space walks on the morning of Monday the 4th. Among the components the astronauts will install on Hubble are new solar arrays and new survey camera. You can follow the mission and watch space walks on NASA TV on the web at spaceflight.nasa.gov
The telescope at Robert Lee Moore hall is open to the public on Wednesday nights at 7 p.m. The building is located on the southeast corner of Dean Keeton (formerly 26th street) and Speedway. Take the elevator 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 to 8 p.m. and Saturdays are open to the general public from 7 to 9 p.m. Painter Hall is located on 24th street about half way between Speedway and Guadalupe.
There will be no star parties the week of March 11th due to Spring Break.
All events are free and open to all ages and no reservations are required. Observing events are weather permitting.
Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers' report.