Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for March 15th through the 21st.
The new moon for the month of March is on Saturday the 20th.
The 20th is also the date of the Vernal, or Spring, Equinox. This is the day where the sun crosses the celestial equator from the southern to northern hemisphere, marking the start of spring. For observers in the southern hemisphere, it marks the autumnal equinox and the start of fall. On this day, the days and nights are roughly equal. Contrary to popular belief, there is nothing special about the equinoxes that allow you to balance an egg on those days. You can balance an egg on end *any* day of the year with a little practice and patience. For more information about this and other astronomy myths and misconceptions check out www.badastronomy.com.
Venus is still brilliant in the west at sundown, with a not-quite-as-bright Jupiter opposite in the eastern skies. Saturn is still nearly overhead in the early evening hours. Mars is visible as a slightly orange dot near the Pleiades a little above Venus.
For more skywatching tips for the week check out stardate.org
There will be no public viewing on UT campus telescopes this week due to spring break. Regular viewing hours will resume next week at 7 p.m. on Wednesday and 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report.