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Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday March 11th through Sunday March 24th.

The moon will be at first quarter early on Thursday March 14th and then will be in the waxing gibbous phase until it reaches full late on the night of Wednesday the 20th. The full moon of March is known as the Sap Moon, the Worm Moon and the Lenten Moon.

The March equinox occurs at 4:58 p.m. central daylight time on Wednesday March 20th signifying the start of spring in the northern hemisphere and autumn in the southern hemisphere. The equinox marks the point when the sun crosses the celestial equator and the amount of daylight and night time are roughly equal.

Mercury is in inferior conjunction with the sun on the 15th and will pass between the Earth and the Sun from our point of view. After conjunction, Mercury will slowly emerge into our morning skies.

Mars is still in the west at sundown and is setting a little before midnight for the next couple of weeks.

In the morning skies, Jupiter is rising at 2:40 a.m. on March 11th and is up by 1:50 a.m. on the 24th. Saturn is rising at 4:30 a.m. on the 11th and is up by 3:40 a.m. by March 24th. Venus is sinking towards the sun and is rising at 5:50 a.m. for the next couple of weeks.

Public viewing at the 16-inch reflector on top of Robert Lee Moore Hall is on Wednesday nights now from 8:30 to 10:30 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 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. Painter Hall is located on 24th street about halfway between Speedway and Guadalupe and is northeast of the UT Tower. Take the elevator to the 5th floor then take the stairs up to the 6th floor and follow the signs up to the telescope.

There will be no viewing on UT campus telescopes the week of March 18th during Spring Break.

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.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers Report.