skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday February 22nd through Sunday February 28th.

The moon is full early on Saturday morning so we’ll have a waxing gibbous moon for the work week and begin the waning gibbous phase on the weekend. The full moon for the month of February is known as the Snow Moon, the Wolf Moon, and the Hunger Moon.

Mars is high in the west-southwest at sundown and is setting at 12:35 a.m. at midweek.

The rest of the naked-eye planets are lined up in the morning skies before dawn, although Venus is now too close to the sun to see.

Saturn is rising at 5:35 a.m. at midweek, an hour and a half before the sun. Mercury follows at 5:40 a.m. as it heads towards greatest elongation next week. Jupiter is next, rising at 6:00 a.m. and Venus is rising at 6:45 a.m., just 15 minutes before sunrise.

In space news from last week, the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover successfully landed at Jezero Crater last Thursday and has already started to return amazing images and video of its own landing taken with off-the-shelf cameras mounted on various parts of the spacecraft. NASA has released the videos and the first ever audio from the surface of Mars, captured with a microphone aboard the rover and you can see the videos, listen to the audio clips, and browse all of the images posted so far - with many more to come - at https://mars.nasa.gov/

All public viewing events on UT campus telescopes are on hold for the Spring 2021 semester. We will update the website outreach.as.utexas.edu with a new schedule when we are able to resume viewing.

While you’re waiting for in-person telescope viewing to resume, you can tune in to McDonald Observatory live streams from west Texas. You can view past events on the McDonald Observatory YouTube channel and you can follow the observatory on TwitterFacebook and at McDonaldObservatory.org to be notified of future events.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers Report.