Skywatchers Report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday March 4th through Sunday March 10th.

The new moon for the month of March is on Wednesday the 6th so we'll start the week with a waning crescent moon and finish with a waxing crescent moon in our early evening skies.

Mercury is now sinking back towards the sun as it heads towards its next conjunction and is setting at 7:30 p.m. at midweek.

Mars is still high in the west at sundown and is setting at 11:00 p.m. this week.

In the morning skies, Jupiter is rising at 1:50 a.m. at midweek, followed by Saturn at 3:40 a.m. and Venus at 4:50 a.m.

This Sunday, March 10th, marks the return of Daylight Saving Time for most of the United States when we move our clocks forward from 2 a.m. to 3 a.m. on Sunday morning. We'll get back the lost hour when we return to Standard Time in November.

In space anniversaries, this week is the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 9 mission which launched on March 3, 1969 and returned safely to Earth on March 13, 1969. Apollo 9 was the first to test the complete Apollo spacecraft and the first space docking of two vehicles and a transfer of crew between them. These tests were crucial stepping stones towards the later successful Apollo 11 moon landing in July 1969.

In further space anniversaries - Tuesday March 5 marks the 40th anniversary of the Voyager 1 flyby of Jupiter and the 10th anniversary of the launch of the Kepler space telescope will be on Thursday March 7th.

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. Take the elevator to the 5th floor then take the stairs up to the 6th floor and follow the signs up to the telescope.

All viewing times will change to 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. next week after the change to Daylight Saving Time.

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.