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Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday February 11th through Sunday February 17th.

The moon is at first quarter on the night of Tuesday the 12th so we'll start the week with a waxing crescent moon and then have a waxing gibbous moon for the remainder of the week.

Mercury is still moving away from the sun after its most recent conjunction and is setting at 7:15 p.m. at midweek.

Mars is up in the southwest at sunset and is setting at 11:15 p.m. this week. Uranus will be about a degree from Mars on Wednesday night although you'll need binoculars to see the 7th planet.

In the morning skies, Jupiter is rising at 3 a.m. so there are now a couple of hours of observing time before sunrise for the gas giant.

Venus is rising at 4:35 a.m., followed by Saturn about 20 minutes later.

The Department of Astronomy and McDonald Observatory are proud to present the 27th annual Great Lecture in Astronomy this Saturday, February 16 at 2:00 p.m. in the Amphitheater room 204 at the AT&T Conference Center on the UT campus. This year's speaker will be Professor Chris Sneden who will talk about "Alchemy in the Early Milky Way". The public is welcome to attend.

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. Take the elevator to the 5th floor then take the stairs up to the 6th floor 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.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers Report.