WPBT2's Star Gazers

Episode #11-51 "Five Fabulous Planets For The Holidays"
Air Dates December 19- December 25, 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 looking at when you go out to your back yard and look up.

JAMES: This year the cosmos is very happy to bring you free of charge five fabulous planets for your holiday viewing pleasure. In early evening you can see dazzling Venus, and giant Jupiter.

DEAN: And in the east just before sunrise you'll find the pink planet mercury, the ringed planet Saturn and the warlike planet Mars. And if you're one of the lucky ones to get a telescope as a holiday gift the viewing will be absolutely super, although as always, this quintet will look great to just the naked eye. Let's show you.

JAMES: O.K., we've got our skies set up for the last two weeks of December about 6 p.m. facing southwest where close to the horizon you'll see the planet which many people have mistaken for the Christmas star all month because it's been so dazzlingly bright, Venus; the planet often called Earth's twin sister because it's almost the same size, 8,000 miles wide.

DEAN: like our moon, Venus goes through phases and through a telescope Venus always looks rounder and closer to full when it's farther away from us. If you had watched it through a small telescope for the past several months you would have seen it grow in size as it steadily came closer to us. But even though it's gotten bigger and bigger as it's gotten closer, its phase has become smaller.

JAMES: It now looks like a gibbous moon, and if you start watching this week with a small telescope you'll actually be able to watch its phase shrink like a waning moon all throughout this spring.

DEAN: Around 6 p.m., look southeast and about half way up in the sky you'll spot a brilliant point of light, the king of the planets known as Jupiter. Jupiter and Venus will keep getting closer every night until they have a spectacular meeting in the western sky in early March.

JAMES: We have a special holiday treat for you on the night of Dec. 26. A 2 day old skinny young moon will be seven degrees to the right of Venus. On the next night, Tuesday the 27th, the 3 day-old moon will be above Venus. This should also be a good time to see the old moon in the new moon's arms. Now Dean, let's go to your favorite time of day, just before dawn.

DEAN: I'm sorry to have to admit it, but you're right James. Just before dawn next week, we'll have three bright planets to look at. Closest to the horizon, with a bright star beside it, is pinkish Mercury. Just off to its right is Antares, the bright red heart star of the Scorpion. Watch for several mornings and you'll easily see Mercury moving against the background of stars.

JAMES: Up to the right of this pair of early morning beauties is another pair of bright lights, the bright blue star Spica and to its left is the exquisite ringed Saturn, which looks good in even the cheapest department store telescope.

DEAN: If you were lucky enough to get a new telescope for the holidays, here's a great place to put it to use. Look for Saturn with your new scope. You'll never forget your first glimpse of Saturn and its rings. Keep looking every day and you'll be able to watch Saturn steadily brighten week after week throughout the spring. Saturn's rings are now wider than they've been in years, which help make Saturn even brighter. 75,000 miles wide Saturn is not as bright as Mercury because it is so incredibly much farther away.

JAMES: Then look up and to the right of Saturn and you'll find another bright planet, Mars, the Roman planet of war. Mars and Mercury will both be brighter than Saturn, even though they are much smaller. Here they are again. Mercury beside Antares, Saturn to the left of Spica and Mars. Then back to the evening; look for Venus in the southwest and Jupiter in the southeast.

DEAN: And be sure to get out the nights of Dec. 26 and 27 to see the skinny crescent moon by Venus in the early evening sky. James and I would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and be sure to keep looking up!

 

Episode #11-51 "Five Fabulous Planets For The Holidays"
Air Dates December 19- December 25, 2011



ONE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
JAMES: This year the cosmos is bringing you five fabulous planets for the holidays.

(Stop drop)

DEAN: O.K., our skies are set up for the last two weeks of December about 6 p.m., facing southwest where close to the horizon you'll see dazzlingly bright Venus.

JAMES: Then look southeast and about half way up in the sky you'll spot the king of the planets, Jupiter.

JAMES: On the evening of Dec. 26, a 2 day old moon will be to the right of Venus. On the next night, the 27th, the moon will be above Venus.

DEAN: Just before dawn next week, we'll have three bright planets. Closest to the horizon is pinkish Mercury. Just off to its right is Antares, the bright red heart star of the Scorpion.

JAMES: Up to the right is the bright blue star Spica, and to its left is the exquisite ringed Saturn.

DEAN: Up and to the right of Saturn you'll find the planet, Mars.

JAMES: Dean and I would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas, and be sure to

BOTH: Keep looking up!

 

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