skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday February 17th through Sunday February 23rd.

The moon is at third quarter on Saturday the 22nd, so we'll have a waning gibbous moon for most of the week and start into a waning crescent phase on Sunday.

Jupiter is still dominating the early evening skies, shining brightly high in the east in the constellation Gemini. Jupiter is setting at 4:15 a.m. this week so it is still visible for a lot of the night.

Mars is rising at 10:30 p.m. at midweek as our two planets begin to approach each other in orbit around the sun heading towards a closest approach in mid-April. Mars will appear as a bright orange star above the moon on Wednesday night.

Saturn rises at 12:30 a.m. this week as it works its way back towards the early evening skies. Look for Saturn near the moon early on Friday and Saturday mornings.

Venus is up in the southeast as dawn breaks. Mercury is emerging from conjunction and is up about 40 minutes before the sun.

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 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.