skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday March 5th through Sunday March 18th.

The full moon for the month of March is on Thursday the 8th, so there will be a waxing gibbous moon before that and a waning gibbous after. This full moon is known as the Lenten Moon, the Sap Moon and the Worm Moon. The moon will be at third quarter on the night of Wednesday the 14th and will be a waning crescent for the remainder of that week.

Mercury reaches greatest elongation east on Monday the 5th. That night it will set a little before 8 p.m. On the 11th it will set at 8:45 p.m. and on the 18th it will set at 8:05 p.m.

Venus and Jupiter will be interesting to watch in the west over the next couple of weeks as they continue to move closer to one another and eventually switch positions, with Venus continuing to climb and Jupiter continuing to sink towards the Sun. Venus is the brighter of the two and will be setting at 10 p.m. on March 5, around 11:05 p.m. on March 11 and 11:15 p.m. on March 18th. Jupiter will be setting at 10:30 p.m. on the 5th, 11:15 p.m. on the 11th and 10:50 p.m. on the 18th.

Over in the east, Mars is rising a little after 6 p.m. on the 5th, about 6:35 p.m. on the 11th and a little before 6 p.m. on the 18th. Mars and Earth are at their closest point to one another on Monday the 5th, when they will be separated by about 63 million miles. A little later in the night, Saturn rises at 9:40 p.m. on the 5th, 10:15 p.m. on the 11th and about 9:45 p.m. on the 18th.

On March 11th we "spring forward" our clocks to Daylight Saving time. The hour that is officially skipped is from 2 to 3 a.m. The rising and setting times mentioned earlier include the time change.

Public viewing at the 16-inch reflector on top of Robert Lee Moore Hall is on Wednesday night from 7 to 9 p.m. this week. 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. There will be no star party on Wednesday March 14.

Public viewing at the 9 inch refractor at Painter Hall is on Friday and Saturday night from 7 to 9 p.m. this week. 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. There will be no star parties on March 16th and 17th.

All star parties will move to 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. after spring break through the remainder of the semester, which ends the first week in May.

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 the scheduled viewing start time when a viewing is cancelled.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers Report.