skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday March 3rd through Sunday March 16th.

The moon is at first quarter on Saturday March 8th. We'll have a waxing crescent moon up to the first quarter, followed by a waxing gibbous moon leading up to the full moon on Sunday March 16th. The full moon for the month of March is known as the Sap Moon, the Worm Moon, and the Lenten Moon.

Jupiter is still shining brightly and near overhead as the sky darkens after sunset. Jupiter will be setting at 3:30 a.m. on March 3rd, at 4:05 a.m. on March 10th after the time change, and at 3:40 a.m. on Sunday March 16th. Look for the moon near Jupiter on Sunday March 9th and Monday March 10th.

Mars is rising at 9:45 p.m. on the 3rd, at 10:15 p.m. on the 10th, and at 9:45 p.m. again on the 16th.

Saturn is rising at 11:45 p.m. on March 3rd, at 12:20 a.m. on the morning of Monday March 10th and at 11:55 p.m. on March 16th.

Venus continues to shine brightly as the 'morning star' and is rising at 4:20 a.m. on the 3rd, at 5:15 a.m. on the 10th, and at 5:15 a.m. again on the 16th.

Mercury is rising a little earlier each morning as it moves towards greatest elongation on Friday the 14th. Mercury is up at 5:40 a.m. on the 3rd, at 6:30 a.m. on the 10th, and at 6:30 a.m. again on the 16th as it begins to move back towards the sun after greatest elongation.

In space anniversaries March 7th marks the fifth anniversary of the launch of the Kepler Space Telescope, designed to find planets around other stars. Last week astronomers announced 715 newly verified planets discovered by Kepler, bringing to total confirmed planets around other stars to about 1700. You can learn more at kepler.nasa.gov

In the morning hours of Sunday March 9th we leave standard time and move our clocks forward to daylight saving. The hour that is officially skipped is 2 to 3 a.m. local time.

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. Please note that there will be no Wednesday night star party on March 12th due to spring break. After spring break the times will move to 8:30 to 10:30 p.m.

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. Note that there will be no Painter telescope viewing on March 14th and 15th due to spring break. After spring break the times will move to 8:30 to 10:30 p.m.

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.