WPBT2's Star Gazers

Episode #11-45 "Pairs of Planets at Dusk and Dawn"
Air Dates November 7- November 13, 2011



FIVE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
JAMES:Hey there stargazers. I'm James Albury, Director of the Kika Silva Pla Planetarium in Gainesville, Florida.

DEAN: And I'm Dean Regas, Outreach Astronomer from the Cincinnati Observatory.

JAMES: And we're here to help you know what you're looking at when you go outside at night and

Both: Look up!

JAMES: Let's get started!

DEAN: It's getting darker earlier for two big reasons. The days are actually getting shorter. The Sun appears to be moving more and more southward every day as we're leaving summer behind and heading into winter and...

JAMES: We've just switched our clocks back to Standard Time after eight months of D S T

DEAN: You mean Daylight Saving Time?

JAMES: Well it should be more properly called Daylight Shifting Time because all we're really doing is moving the daylight around. We're not really making any more daylight or saving any of it.

DEAN: But the effect is that it's getting darker earlier in the evening. Let's look at Monday night the 14th after sunset, and the first light you'll see in the western sky will be the super bright planet Venus. Mercury will be just 2 degrees below it. You'll need very clear, cloud free skies to catch Mercury, but give it a try.

JAMES: Then let's start advancing a day at a time and watch Venus rise a bit higher each night. Mercury will drop lower below Venus each night and quickly disappear. Venus on the other hand will stay in the western sky after sunset for the next six to seven months. And if you keep watching over the next two weeks on Saturday November 26, you'll see a gorgeous slender sliver of a two day old crescent Moon about four degrees to the right of Venus.

DEAN: Hey, our luck this year with meteor showers is continuing...

JAMES: You mean our bad luck...

DEAN: Well yes, the Leonid meteor shower will peak next week on the night of the 17th, but we have one little 2,000 mile wide problem. The waning gibbous Moon will be right in the middle of where the meteors will appear to come from...

JAMES: Which means we probably won't get to see much, right?

DEAN: Afraid so, but there's always a chance. Get out the nights of Thursday the 17th and Friday the 18th around midnight. Lie down on your back, look up and you might catch a few of these speedy meteors. And be sure to look into the eastern sky in the evening next week for the biggest of all the planets Jupiter. Jupiter will be in the sky every evening for the rest of the year. So that's two bright planets in the evening sky: Venus in the west and Jupiter in the east.

JAMES: Now you early morning star gazers haven't been forgotten. In fact, we have two pairs of lights in the pre-dawn sky for you. Go out before dawn next Monday, look into the southeast and about two thirds of the way up the sky you'll spot a bright pair of celestial lights, a reddish gold planet and a bright blue white star.

DEAN: Now the one to the left is the planet Mars. And Mars is passing fairly close to the bright star Regulus, the heart of Leo the Lion. Mars is giving you a good demonstration of why it's called a planet. The word planet comes from Greek and means wandering star. And if you watch Mars and Regulus over the next few weeks you'll quickly notice that Mars is moving away from Regulus every day and by Christmas, Mars will have wandered way over here in the sky.

JAMES: Then look lower, a lot closer to the southeastern horizon for another pair of lights. And again the one to the left is a planet and the other one to the right is a star. This time the planet is the ringed beauty Saturn, while the star is the brightest star in Virgo, beautiful blue white Spica. And if you have a telescope, now is the time to dust it off and take it out to look at Saturn.

DEAN: Saturn's rings are opening and are more open now than they were last year at this time. So they're getting brighter and wider. Saturn moves much slower than Mars so just as we asked you to watch Mars move in relation to Regulus, do the same with Saturn and Spica and you'll see that Saturn moves much slower and doesn't cover nearly as much sky in the same time as Mars.

JAMES: so Venus and Jupiter grace your evening skies while Mars and Saturn take the morning shift, as you...

BOTH: Keep looking up!

 

Episode #11-45 "Pairs of Planets at Dusk and Dawn"
Air Dates November 7- November 13, 2011



ONE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
DEAN: Hey there star gazers. It's getting darker earlier as we leave summer behind.

DEAN: So let's look at the western sky next week right after sunset and the first light you'll see will be the super bright planet Venus.

JAMES: Then look into the eastern sky in the evening next week for the biggest of all the planets, Jupiter. Venus and Jupiter will both be in the evening sky for the rest of the year.

DEAN: Then go out before dawn next week, look into the southeast, and you'll spot two pairs of celestial lights, each pair a planet and a bright star.

JAMES: The upper pair are Mars and Regulus in Leo the Lion.

DEAN: While the lower pair are Saturn and Spica in Virgo the Virgin.

JAMES: So Venus and Jupiter grace your evening skies

DEAN: While Mars and Saturn take the morning shift, as you...

BOTH: Keep looking up!

 

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