Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for March 5th to March 18th.
The full moon for the month of March is during the day of the 9th. This full moon is known as the Sap Moon, the Crow Moon or the Lenten Moon. The moon is at third quarter on the 16th.
In the morning hours, Mars passes close to the bright orange star Antares, in the constellation Scorpius. The two objects look remarkably similar; in fact, the name Antares means "rival of Mars".
Venus is still very bright in the western skies at sunset. It is gradually sinking a little lower every night and will be lost in the sun's glare by the end of the month.
Jupiter and Saturn are high in the southwest at twilight and set around midnight.
In space news, the space shuttle Discovery is due to launch on the 8th to conduct the first crew change for the international space station. The current crew has been on the station for over four months.
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 26th 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.
All events are free and open to all ages and no reservations are required. Observing events are weather permitting.
There will be no star parties the week of March 12 due to Spring Break.