Skywatchers Report

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

The new moon for the month of February is on Sunday the 23rd so we’ll have a waning crescent moon in the early morning skies for the whole week.

Mercury is sinking back towards the sun and is setting at 7:10 p.m. at midweek.

Venus continues to slightly grow in brightness from week to week and is setting at 9:40 p.m. this week.

In the morning skies, Mars is rising at 3:40 a.m., followed by Jupiter at 4:40 a.m., and Saturn at 5:15 a.m.

The crescent moon will pass by all of the morning planets this week and some locations will actually see some occultations, when the moon moves in front of the planet. The Moon will occult Mars on Tuesday morning and for once, we’ll actually get to see it here in North America. On Wednesday morning, observers in the southernmost part of South America and Antarctica will see Jupiter occulted by the moon. On Thursday morning, Saturn will be a little above the very thin crescent moon.

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.