skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday February 23rd through Sunday March 1st.

The moon is at first quarter on Wednesday the 25th, so we'll start the week with a waxing crescent moon and finish with a waxing gibbous moon.

Venus and Mars have now passed their closest approach and will slowly separate over the next few months. Venus will continue to climb in the evening skies and Mars will move closer to the horizon, although it won't move into conjunction with the sun until June. The next planet Venus will move past is Uranus, which it will be less than half a degree from next week.

Jupiter is well up in the east at sunset and is visible for most of the remainder of the night, setting just an hour before sunrise.

Saturn is rising at 1 a.m. as it slowly works its way back towards the early evening skies for viewing this summer.

Mercury is rising at 5:40 a.m., about 80 minutes before the sun. Mercury will be at its greatest western elongation on Tuesday the 24th.

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.