skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday February 13th through Sunday February 19th.

The moon will be at third quarter on Tuesday so we will have a waning crescent moon for most of the week.

Venus is still very bright in the western skies and is shining at magnitude -4.2 this week. Venus is setting at 9:35 p.m. at midweek. Jupiter is up above Venus and not quite as bright at magnitude -2.2. Jupiter is setting at around 11:30 p.m. at midweek. If you watch Jupiter and Venus over the next month you will notice that they are getting closer to one another. They will reach their closest point - about 3 degrees of separation - on March 15th.

Mars is rising in the east at 7:50 p.m. and is now at magnitude -1.0 making it just a little fainter than the brightest star in our night sky, Sirius, which shines at magnitude -1.4. Saturn is up just a little before 11 p.m. at midweek and is slowly working its way back into our early evening skies. Mercury is emerging from conjunction with the sun and will soon re-appear low in the west shortly after sunset.

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. To get to the telescope, take the elevator to the 5th floor and exit to the left. Follow the 5th floor hallway to the end and take the staircase through the double doors on the left. Once you reach the 6th floor, go to your right 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. Observing events are weather permitting. Please call 232-4265 for weather cancellation information, which is updated 30 to 60 minutes before the scheduled viewing start time when a viewing is cancelled.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers Report.