skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday February 24th through Sunday March 2nd.

The moon is new early on the morning of Saturday March 1st so we'll have a waning crescent moon for the work week and a very thin waxing crescent moon for the weekend.

Jupiter is still the dominant bright planet in the early evening skies, shining high in the east at sundown and is nearly overhead at 9:00 p.m.

Mars joins Jupiter in the sky at 10:00 p.m. as it continues to move towards closest approach to the Earth and steadily increases in brightness.

Saturn follows Mars, rising just a few minutes before midnight as it makes its way back into our early evening skies for a good showing this summer.

Venus shines brightly as the morning star, rising at 4:20 a.m. Look for the very thin crescent moon near Venus on Wednesday morning.

Mercury rises at 5:50 a.m., a little over an hour before the sun, so you may be able to catch it this week if you have a good view of the eastern horizon.

Saturday March 1st is the annual Explore UT open house on the University of Texas campus from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Department of Astronomy and McDonald Observatory will be on the roof of Robert Lee Moore hall doing a variety of demonstrations through out the day. For more information on the event, go to www.utexas.edu/events/exploreut.

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.