Never pass up a chance to sit down or relieve yourself. -old Apache saying

Sunday, March 1, 2015

March stargazing

Spring is just around the corner!  Hang on, northeasterners!  

Fantastic New Photos!

We've just posted dozens of beautiful new images of McDonald Observatory in our online image gallery. The images by Ethan Tweedie Photography are available for personal use and by news media; commercial use is prohibited. [Ethan Tweedie Photography]

Stargazing Summary

The warmer nights of spring bring a panoply of new stars and constellations. Leo is in good view by nightfall, climbing straight up from the eastern horizon, led by his bright heart, Regulus. Virgo follows a couple of hours later; the maiden's brightest star, Spica, looks like a near twin to Regulus. The planet Venus continues its climb into the western sky as the Evening Star, while Mars, which is near Venus as the month begins, drops ever lower into the twilight.

More stargazing information »

Radio Program Highlights

New affiliates! Eastern New Mexico University's radio station, KENW, plus all of its transmitters and translators, recently began carrying StarDate in the following New Mexico markets: Portales, Tucucari, Clayton, Des Moines, Raton, Wagon Mound, Las Vegas, Conchas Dam, Apache Springs, Ft. Sumner, Ruidoso, Montoya, Roswell and Maljamar, plus Midland, Texas.

If you want to start hearing the StarDate program in your area, you can request a station to carry our program by emailing the request to

March 2-8: A New Dawn. A small spacecraft is set to enter orbit around the biggest member of the asteroid belt this week, and we'll have details on both the craft and its target. Join us for the Dawn mission to Ceres and much more.

March 9-15: Looking Deep. We can't see the middles of any of the planets or moons of the solar system, but we can learn quite a bit about them. We'll have two examples this week — a moon of Saturn, and our own moon. Join us for this and more.

March 16-22: Interrupted Sunrise. Sunrise at the north pole will experience a brief interruption this week: a total solar eclipse. We'll have details on the eclipse, and on the long sunrise — and long day — at the north pole. Join us for this and more.

March 23-29: African AstronomyPart of a giant new radio telescope is set to be built in Africa — one of several major new astronomical projects there. We'll have details on these new projects, along with the tale of an Easter storm.

March 30-31: The Moon and the LionThe Moon passes through the constellation Leo this week, and well have details on its encounter with the lionis bright heart, as well as its bright tail. Please join us for the Moon, the lion, and much more.

Program schedule »

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This Month in StarDate Magazine

For more than a decade, astronomers studying Betelgeuse have found that the red supergiant star is shrinking. We'll introduce the scientists and find out what they think is causing the star to change. We'll also delve into history with a look at how World War II affected astronomers and observatories at home and abroad.

Subscribe today

News From the Observatory

Found: Ancient Solar System with Five Earth-Sized Planets
A team of scientists including The University of Texas at Austin's Dr. William Cochran has discovered a solar system similar to our own dating back to the dawn of our Milky Way galaxy. They reported the find of five planets with sizes between Mercury and Venus orbiting the Sun-like star Kepler-444 in a recent issue of The Astrophysical Journal.

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About SkyTips

SkyTips is a monthly email newsletter for visitors to McDonald Observatory and StarDate Online. Each issue features stargazing highlights, upcoming StarDate radio program descriptions, and other news. Please feel free to forward this newsletter to your friends and family.

SkyTips is a publication of the University of Texas McDonald Observatory Education and Outreach Office, 2609 University Ave. A2100, Austin, TX 78712. Reproduction of SkyTips content is permitted with proper credit given to McDonald Observatory.

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