Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday February 18th through Sunday February 24th.
The full moon for the month of February is on Tuesday the 19th so we'll start the week at the end of the waxing gibbous phase and then have a waning gibbous moon for the remainder of the week. This full moon is known as the Snow Moon, the Wolf Moon and the Hunger Moon. This full moon occurs within about 7 hours of the moon's perigee - its closest point to the earth - so this full moon will have the largest angular size of any in 2019. This also means that coastal areas will experience extra large high tides.
Mercury is still moving towards its greatest elongation in our evening skies and is setting at 7:40 p.m. at midweek, about an hour and 15 minutes after the sun.
Mars is up in our western skies at sunset and is setting at 11:10 p.m. this week.
Jupiter is rising at 2:40 a.m., about three and a half hours before sunrise.
Saturn is up at 4:30 a.m. at midweek, with Venus following about 10 minutes later. Earlier in the week the two planets are about 1 degree apart but will move farther apart as the week progresses.
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.