skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for Monday March 5th through Sunday March 11th.

The moon is at third quarter on Monday March 12th, after being full and eclipsed last Saturday.

Venus is still visible in the evening skies after sunset. It will continue to rise a little higher and set a little later each night until it reaches greatest elongation in June. Saturn is high in the east when the sky darkens and is visible almost all night. Jupiter is rising at about 1:30 a.m. and Mars is rising at about 5 a.m.

Last week the New Horizons spacecraft made its closest swing by Jupiter in order to pick up speed with a gravity boost for the trip out to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt. You can learn more about the mission at www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/newhorizons/main/

This is the first spacecraft to fly by Jupiter since the Galileo spacecraft plunges into Jupiter’s clouds in 2003. The Cassini spacecraft flew by Jupiter in 2000 on its way out to Saturn. Be sure to take a look at the latest images from Cassini including some never before seen views of the planet and its rings. Logon to saturn.jpl.nasa.gov

This year we are changing to Daylight Saving Time a few weeks earlier, so be sure to change your clocks forward on Saturday night.

Public viewing at the 16 inch reflector on top of Robert Lee Moore Hall is on Wednesday nights 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 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.

Please note that there will be no viewing next week, meaning March 14th, 16th and 17th, due to spring break. Because of the change to daylight saving time, all star parties will start at 8 p.m. the week after spring break.

All events are free and open to all ages and no reservations are required. Note that viewing times and availability change throughout the year. Observing events are weather permitting. Please call 232-4265 for weather cancellation information, which is updated 30 to 60 minutes before viewing start time on nights when public viewing is cancelled.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report.