Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for March 6th through the 12th.
The moon is at first quarter on Monday the 6th. That night the moon will be near the Hyades and Pleiades and Mars, which is still between the two clusters. Saturn is still high in the east-southeast at 8 p.m. The moon will be next to Saturn on the nights of the 9th and 10th. Venus rises a little after 4 a.m. and is high and bright in the east before sunrise.
Jupiter is rising a little after 11 p.m. this week. If you have access to a moderately sized telescope, you may be able to see the Great Red Spot and Red Jr., another red spot about half the size of the original. The new storm formed a few years back when some smaller storms combined, but the red color is a recent development. More information is available at science.nasa.gov
The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is scheduled for orbital insertion on the 10th. This new probe will study the red planet with a suite of instruments and camera and will join the multiple probes currently studying Mars. To learn more about the mission, logon to mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mro
Public viewing at the Painter Hall telescope is on Fridays and Saturdays from 7 to 9 p.m. Painter Hall is located on 24th street about halfway between Speedway and Guadalupe. There is currently construction on the fifth floor of Painter, but there should still be access through the hallway from the elevator to the stairs up to the telescope.
The telescope at Robert Lee Moore Hall is open to the public on Wednesday nights from 7 to 9 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.
There will be no public viewing nights next week due to spring break.
All events are free and open to all ages and no reservations are required. Note that star party times and availability change throughout the year. Please call this recording before planning a visit to the telescopes. Observing events are weather permitting. Please call 232-4265 for weather cancellation information, which is updated 30 to 60 minutes before viewing start time only on nights when star parties are cancelled.
Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report.