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

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

March stargazing

Spring is coming! The stars look very different today.

Habitats for Non-Humanity?

Saturn's giant moon Titan and a smaller moon, Enceladus (left), appear to have all the ingredients for life, including liquid water, a heat source, and organic chemistry. So far, there is no direct evidence of life, only the ingredients for life.

Stargazing Summary
The warmer nights of spring bring a panoply of new stars and constellations for skywatchers to enjoy. Leo is in good view by nightfall, climbing straight up from the eastern horizon, led by his bright heart, the star Regulus. Virgo follows the lion a couple of hours later. Bo├Âtes, the herdsman, is to the maiden's left, marked by yellow-orange Arcturus, one of the brightest stars in the night sky.

More stargazing information

Radio Program Highlights
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 1-6: Dueling Galaxies. When two galaxies pass by each other, they really stir things up. They can create spiral arms and trigger the birth of millions of new stars. We'll talk about a couple of these encounters, including one that involved our own galaxy.

March 7-13: Giant Appearance. Jupiter, the solar system's largest planet, is putting in its most impressive performance of the year this week, and we'll have details. We'll also talk about the next mission to Mars and much more.

March 14-20: New Eyes. Hubble Space Telescope is still going strong, but the next big space telescopes are on the way, and we'll have details. Join us for new space telescopes, plus the changing seasons, the Ides of March, and much more.

March 21-27: Moon Meanderings. The Moon passes some bright lights this week, from the king of the planets to a sizzling binary star, and we'll have details. We'll also talk about the celestial remnants of an ancient ship and much more. 

March 28-31: Galaxies Galore. One of the largest and brightest galaxy clusters in the universe climbs the eastern sky this week, and we'll have details. We'll also explain how much of this bright cluster is invisible. Join us for the Coma cluster and more.

Program schedule »

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This Month in StarDate Magazine
On the heels of the 2015 Nobel Prize in physics for the discovery of neutrino mass, we look at other particles that scientists are chasing that could turn cosmology on its head. And we take you into a mysterious cold spot in space discovered when satellites mapped the radiation left over from the Big Bang.

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News From the Observatory
Newly discovered planet in the Hyades cluster could shed light on planetary evolution
University of Texas at Austin astronomer Andrew Mann and colleagues have discovered a planet in a nearby star cluster which could help astronomers better understand how planets form and evolve. The discovery of planet K2-25b used both the Kepler space telescope and the university's McDonald Observatory, and is published 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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