skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for Monday February 19th through Sunday February 25th.

The moon is at first quarter in the morning hours of Saturday the 24th.

Look for the very slim crescent moon alongside Venus early in the week. On Monday the 19th, look for the moon right above the very bright Venus shortly after the sun sets. On Tuesday the moon will be much higher, but is still only a slight crescent. Venus is currently setting at about 8:30 p.m.

Saturn is rising at about 5:15 p.m. at midweek so it is now well placed in the early evening skies. Jupiter is rising at about 2:20 a.m. this week, with Mars up at about 5 a.m.

The Themis mission that was mentioned in last week’s report did eventually launch last week. The launch was delayed from its original date due to high winds, but it did eventually blast off from Florida on Saturday. The mission is a set of 5 probes that will study the northern lights. Logon to www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/themis/ for more information.

A press release from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter last week sees the effects of ancient underground fluids. All the photos and press releases from the mission are available online at mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mro/

Public viewing at the 16 inch reflector on top of Robert Lee Moore Hall is on Wednesday nights 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 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.

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 viewing start time on nights when public viewing is cancelled.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report.