WPBT2's Star Gazers

Episode #11-49 "Red Moon in the Morning"
Air Dates December 5- December 11, 2011



FIVE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
JAMES: Welcome to Star Gazers. Im James Albury, director of the Kika Silva Pla Planetarium in Gainesville, Florida.

DEAN: And Im Dean Regas, outreach astronomer from the Cincinnati Observatory

DEAN: Were both here to help you be sure you know what youre seeing in the night sky when you...

BOTH: Look up.

JAMES: Saturday morning December 10th the moon will pass through the shadow of the Earth and give us a total lunar eclipse.

DEAN: But...only those of you in the far western parts of the U.S. And Canada will get to see it live. This is really a great event for the folks in Australia, Asia and the Pacific Islands but not for most of the U.S. But we have a way around that which we'll tell you about later.

JAMES: There won't be another total lunar eclipse for anywhere in the world until April 2014 when both North and South America will get a great view. This gap might seem strange since there have been three of them in the past 12 months but eclipses are kind of cat-like. They follow their own rules and don't care what you think at all. What makes lunar eclipses tick? Let's show you.

DEAN: O.K., let's imagine that we're out in space looking down on our moon, earth and sun. Now moonlight is really light from the sun reflected off the moon and back to our earth. So one half of the moon is lit up by the sun at all times, although the only time we see the half of the moon that is completely lit up is when we have a full moon which occurs every month whenever the moon is directly opposite the sun as seen from Earth.

JAMES: Now usually when we have a full moon the moon is either above or below the plane of our earth's orbit. But occasionally the full moon will glide directly into our earth's plane and will pass directly through our earth's shadow, which will block most of the sun's light from reaching it. In other words our earth's shadow will eclipse the light of the sun, which is why we call such an event an eclipse.

DEAN: But during a total lunar eclipse the moon never completely disappears and always turns some unpredictable shade of reddish orange. And that's because the red rays of sunlight are bent by our earth's atmosphere into our earth's shadow, filling it with a faint reddish orange light.

JAMES: So during a total lunar eclipse the reddish orange color you see is actually the red light from all the sunrises and sunsets around the world being refracted, that is bent, into our earth's shadow and onto the moon and then reflected back again for us to see.

DEAN: Now if we could look at our earth's shadow cone more closely we would see that there are two distinct parts to it. A pale outer shadow called the penumbra and a smaller, inner, dark shadow called the umbra. The penumbral phase of the eclipse is never very noticeable so start watching when the moon begins to enter the umbra at 4:45 a.m. Pacific time or your local equivalent.

JAMES: As time progresses, the umbra, our earth's curved shadow will slowly creep across the moon and gradually darken it and cause it to change color. But what color the moon will turn no one can predict, which is what makes it so much fun. Will it turn bright orange, blood red? Only the shadow knows.

DEAN: The moon will be within the umbra and totally eclipsed for 52 minutes until 9:58 a.m. Eastern time.
JAMES: Yes, we know that for you in the eastern half of the U.S. the moon will have set and the sun will have risen. But we have a plan.

DEAN: We will webcast the eclipse from Reno, Nevada for those of you who get clouded out, or sunrised out or just don't feel like getting up just before dawn to see it. Or if the eclipse is over, check us out for a replay.

JAMES: Go to our website: www.stargazersonline.org for more info or you could get on a plane and fly to the west coast to see it in person. It will be more than two years until you get a chance to see another... total lunar eclipse.

BOTH: Keep looking up!

 

Episode #11-49 "Red Moon in the Morning"
Air Dates December 5- December 11, 2011



ONE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
JAMES: Saturday morning, December 10th, the moon will pass through the shadow of the earth and give us the last total lunar eclipse visible until April 2014.

DEAN: But...only those of you in the far western parts of the U.S. And Canada will get to see it live. But we have a way around that, which we'll tell you about later.

JAMES: A total lunar eclipse occurs whenever a full moon glides directly into our earth's shadow, which blocks most of the sun's light from reaching it, because moonlight is nothing more than reflected sunlight.

DEAN: There is, however, always some red sunlight in the shadow, which makes the moon turn an unpredictable shade of reddish orange during totality, but what color the moon will turn no one can predict. Will it turn bright orange, blood red? Only the shadow knows.

JAMES: We will webcast the eclipse live from Reno, Nevada, or if the eclipse is over, check us out for a replay.

DEAN: Go to our website: www.stargazersonline.org for more info.

BOTH: Keep looking up!

 

Star Gazers Home Page Back to WPBT2.org Miami Science Museum Kika Silva Pla Planetarium | Santa Fe College The Cincinnati Observatory Support Star Gazes with your donation