Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for March 18th through the 24th.
The moon is at first quarter for the month of March on the evening of Thursday the 21st.
The Vernal Equinox for the Northern Hemisphere occurs at 1:16 p.m. Central time on March 20th. This is the day when the daytime hours and nighttime hours are equal and the sun rises and sets due east and west.
The moon will appear just below Saturn on Tuesday evening and just above it on Wednesday night. On Thursday, the moon will be a little below Jupiter and will be a little above it on Friday. Some locations on earth will get to see the moon eclipse these two gas giants this week, but neither occultation will be visible from the continental US.
Recently discovered comet Ikeya-Zhang is now visible to the naked eye low in the west at sunset. You will need to find a place with an unobstructed view of the western horizon to get a view of this comet. Finder charts are available at www.spaceweather.com and stardate.org.
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 Dean Keeton (formerly 26th street) 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 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. and Saturdays are open to the general public from 7:30 to 9:30 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.