skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for March 13th through the 19th.

The moon is full on the night of Tuesday the 14th. The full moon for the month of March is called the Sap moon and the Crow moon.

The moon will be eclipsed that night, but it will be a penumbral eclipse, where the moon moves through the outermost part of the Earth’s shadow. The eclipse will already be in progress when the moon rises in central Texas. Because of the subtle shading in a penumbral eclipse, many observers won’t be able to tell that there is a lunar eclipse happening at all, unlike the dark red and grey shades visible with an umbral eclipse, when the moon passes through the inner part of the earth’s shadow.

Saturn is still high in the east as the sky darkens and looks like a bright, creamy-white star. Jupiter is rising at 10:30 p.m. at mid-week. The moon will be alongside Jupiter on the night of Sunday the 19th. Venus is still dominating the eastern morning skies, rising aroung 4 a.m. and shining at magnitude -4.4

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter successfully entered orbit around the red planet last Friday. You can follow the mission at mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mro

Google launched their latest mapping project over the weekend: Google Mars. You can explore images of Mars in visible, infrared and elevation models at www.google.com/mars

You can see Mars for with your own eyes high in the west as twilight ends. It is above the V-shaped Hyades open star cluster in Taurus.

There will be no public viewing nights this week due to spring break. Please call back next week for information on regular dates and times.

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