skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers Report for Monday March 13 through Sunday March 19.

The moon is at third quarter on Tuesday night, so we’ll have a waning gibbous moon on Monday and then a waning crescent moon for the remainder of the week.

Jupiter is low in the west at sunset and continues to move towards the sun and its next solar conjunction. Jupiter is setting at 9:05 p.m. at midweek, about 90 minutes after sunset.

Venus is above Jupiter and is continuing to move higher each evening as it moves towards its next greatest elongation from the sun. Venus is setting at 10:15 p.m. at midweek.

Mars is still high overhead at sunset and is setting at 2:45 a.m.

In the morning skies, Saturn is rising at 6:35 a.m., about an hour before sunrise. Saturn will be above and to the left of the waning crescent moon on Sunday morning.

Mercury is in superior conjunction with the Sun on Friday the 17th when it will pass behind the Sun from the Earth’s perspective. After conjunction, Mercury will begin to emerge into our evening skies.

In space anniversaries this week, Friday March 17 marks 65 years since the launch of the Vanguard 1 satellite, which was the fourth overall successful satellite launch and the second for the US. Vanguard 1 was launched to study the effects of the space environment on artificial satellites and also performed geodetic measurements. The mission lasted for six years and the satellite still remains in orbit, making it the oldest human-made object circling the Earth.

There will be no viewing on UT campus telescopes this week due to spring break. Public viewing hours will change next week due to the switch to daylight saving time.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers Report.