WPBT2's Star Gazers

Episode #11-44 "Plenty Of Planets For The Evening Sky!"
Air Dates October 31- November 6, 2011



FIVE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
DEAN: Welcome to Star Gazers. I’m Dean Regas, Outreach Astronomer from The Cincinnati Observatory.

JAMES: And I’m James Albury, Director of the Kika Silva Pla Planetarium in Gainesville, Florida.

DEAN: We’re both here to help you know what you’re looking at when you go out to the back yard and look up. Lets go.

DEAN: Next week look low in the Southwest just after sunset and see if you can catch a glimpse of the brightest of all the planets, Venus. You’ll have to look soon after sunset because Venus won’t be there very long before it will set.

JAMES: Venus will move a bit farther left each night plus it will be just above the closest planet to the Sun, Mercury. And the two of them, Venus and Mercury, will stay close together for about a week.

DEAN: Let’s put some dates in there and take a closer look. Monday November 7 about 45 minutes after sunset, Venus will be about 2 degrees above Mercury and will be about 40 times brighter. The next day Tuesday the 8th they will each have moved a bit in the sky but will stay the same distance apart.

JAMES: Then on the 9th they will continue flying in formation but on the 10th they will pass close to the star Antares, the giant red heart of the scorpion. Then on the 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th this pairing will continue while Antares will be rapidly left behind. But this pairing won’t last and after the 15th Mercury will turn and head back toward the Sun letting Venus go on alone.

DEAN: I suggest you keep watching Venus every evening after sunset and notice that it keeps moving a little bit more to the left each night and will get a bit higher each night. The best night will be the Saturday after Thanksgiving when a skinny crescent moon will join it.

JAMES: Then turn around and look East just after sunset next week and the Moon will be your best buddy for helping you identify the giant planet Jupiter. Monday night November 7th look East after sunset and you’ll easily spot a waxing, that is growing, gibbous Moon. Gibbous means humped, which is what the Moon will look like as it approaches Full Moon. About 20 degrees down to the left of the Moon you’ll easily spot a bright light in the sky and that is the giant planet Jupiter.

DEAN: Jupiter is extra bright right now because it’s closer than usual, only a mere 371 million miles away. But back in April Jupiter was over 550 million miles from us and was noticeably dimmer.

JAMES: Then the next night Tuesday November 8th, the Moon will be closer to Jupiter and one day closer to Full Moon. The next night, Wednesday the 9th, the Moon will be just past Jupiter and only 6 degrees away. Then Thursday November 10th, the night of Full Moon, Jupiter will be about 16 degrees to the right of the Moon. Lets go back over that again.

DEAN: Evening sky, looking West, just after sunset, November 7th through the 15th, Venus and Mercury will pair up for about a week.

JAMES: Then look toward the East early evening November 7th thru the 10th, for the Moon showing you the giant planet Jupiter. So Jupiter and Venus will both be in the evening sky for the next few months and will have a really close rendezvous in March of 2012.

DEAN: And now we have a planet for you early morning star gazers too. This one isn’t nearly as bright as Jupiter or Venus but there is a big lion in the sky to help you locate it. Look Southeast before dawn about half way up the sky and look for the big backward question mark that outlines the head of Leo the Lion. This question mark will be easier to spot than usual because it will have a double dot at the bottom with the star Regulus marking the bottom dot and the red planet Mars making the brighter upper dot, if you look on the mornings of November 10th... and 11th.

JAMES: Lets back up to Monday November 7th and you’ll have a great chance to see how fast a planet can move across the sky. Here we are on the 7th, the 8th, the 9th, the 10th and the 11th. Notice how far Mars has moved in just a few days. This is why planets were called wandering stars.

DEAN: Two bright planets in the evening

JAMES: And a bright star and a planet in the morning.

BOTH: Keep looking up!

 

Episode #11-44 M "Plenty Of Planets For The Evening Sky!"
Air Dates October 31- November 6, 2011



ONE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
DEAN: Next week look low in the Southwest just after sunset and see if you can catch a glimpse of Venus and Mercury.

JAMES: Then turn and look East for the Moon and Jupiter.

DEAN: Monday November 7 about 45 minutes after sunset, Venus will be about 2 degrees above Mercury and will be about 40 times brighter. The next day Tuesday the 8th they will each have moved a bit in the sky but will stay the same distance apart. Then from the 9th through the 15th they will continue flying in formation. But this pairing won’t last and after the 15th Mercury will turn and head back toward the Sun letting Venus go on alone.

JAMES: Then look toward the East in the early evening November 7th thru the 10th, for the Moon showing you the giant planet Jupiter. So Jupiter and Venus will both be in the evening sky for the next six months and will have a really close rendezvous in March of 2012.

UNISON: Two bright planets in the evening sky! Keep looking up!

 

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