Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday March 6th through Sunday March 12th.
The moon was at first quarter on Sunday the 5th and will reach full on Sunday the 12th, so we'll have a waxing gibbous moon for the whole week. The full moon for the month of March is known as the Sap Moon, the Worm Moon, and the Lenten Moon.
Venus is slowly sinking a little more and more each night as it catches up to Earth in orbit. A telescope will show a slim crescent that is now less than 10% illuminated but is still shining brightly at magnitude -4.4 and setting at 8:25 p.m.
Mars is still above and to the left of Venus and looks like an orange star. Mars is setting at 9:40 p.m. this week.
A little before Mars sets in the west, Jupiter is rising in the east at 8:55 p.m. as it moves into place to be the dominant planet for the spring.
Saturn is rising at 2:00 a.m. and is now visible for nearly 5 hours before sunrise.
Mercury is in superior conjunction with the sun on Tuesday the 7th and moves from our morning skies into our evening skies.
Most parts of the US will "spring forward" one hour this weekend as we move on to Daylight Saving Time early Sunday morning. The hour that is officially skipped is 2 to 3 a.m. on Sunday morning.
Public viewing at the 16-inch reflector on top of Robert Lee Moore Hall is on Wednesday nights currently 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.
Public viewing at the 9-inch refractor at Painter Hall is on Friday and Saturday nights currently 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.
All events are free and open to all ages and no reservations are required. Note that viewing times and availability change throughout the year so please check the schedule before planning a visit. Observing events are weather permitting. Please call 512-232-4265 for weather cancellation information, which is updated 30 to 45 minutes before the scheduled viewing start time.
Please note that there will be no viewing on UT campus telescopes next week due to spring break. Starting the week of March 20th, all star party times will change to 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. for the remainder of the semester.
Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers Report.