skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for Monday March 12th through the 18th.

The moon is at last quarter phase on Monday the 12th. Be sure to catch the March 3rd eclipse photo gallery at spaceweather.com

Saturn is high in the east when the sky darkens and sets at 6 a.m. Venus dominates the western sky after the sun sets.

Jupiter is rising at 2 a.m. and there are several more planets clustered around the sun. Mars is rising at about 5:45 a.m. and Mercury can be glimpsed in the east shortly before the sun rises. Neptune is sandwiched in between Mars and Mercury, but you will need a telescope to see it. Uranus is very close to the sun and only rises about 20 minutes before sunrise. The moon joins these morning planets Thursday, Friday and Saturday mornings.

As if there weren’t already enough spacecraft studying Mars, the Rosetta mission flew by the Red Planet at the end of February. The mission is on its way to rendezvous with a comet in 2014. Rosetta will be the first spacecraft to orbit a comet. To see pictures of the Mars flyby and learn more about US contribution the mission, logon to rosetta.jpl.nasa.gov The mission is spearheaded by the European Space agency, whose website is at www.esa.int

Please note that there will be no telescope viewing this 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.

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