WPBT2's Star Gazers

Episode #11-52 "Ring in 2012 with Star Gazers' Special New Year's Eve Star "
Air Dates December 26- January 1, 2012



FIVE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
JAMES:† Greetings fellow stargazers!† Iím James Albury, director of the Kika Silva Pla Planetarium in Gainesville Florida.

DEAN: And Iím Dean Regas, outreach astronomer from the Cincinnati Observatory.† Every year on Star Gazers, we encourage you to celebrate New Year's Eve the cosmic way, because if you go outside at the stroke of midnight every New Year's Eve, you will see something very special, which James and I like to call the New Year's Eve Star.

JAMES:† Thatís right, Dean! †And we have some really nice planets for you to gaze at to close out 2011 as well.†† Letís show you!

JAMES:† O.K., we've got our skies set up for 8 p.m. your local time this Saturday, December 31st, New Year's Eve, facing due south. And first, like all good astronomers, let's draw an imaginary line from the due south horizon straight up to the zenith point overhead and then down the other side of the sky to the horizon due north. This line is called the meridian and it divides the eastern half of the sky from the western half.

DEAN:† Exactly, and now as our earth slowly and endlessly rotates from west to east we are treated nightly to the grandest optical illusion in nature as we watch the stars appear to rise in the east, slowly travel across the sky all night long and eventually set in the west. And if you watch the stars every single night, you will eventually conclude that the highest point any star reaches above the horizon in its nightly journey is when it is on the meridian.

JAMES:† This is very important to telescope users because the higher an object is above the horizon, the better it will appear in a telescope.

DEAN:† So, when we were researching which planets would be high up off the horizon for viewing this New Year's Eve, we came across something which to me, is an amazing coincidence, something which we had never read about in any astronomy book.

JAMES:† That coincidence is that no matter where you happen to be on New Year's Eve, Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky, will slowly climb up the southeastern sky hour after hour and at midnight will reach its highest point, almost on the meridian.

DEAN:† Think of itÖ the brightest star visible from our planet reaches its highest point above the horizon at midnight every New Year's Eve. Itís a wonderfully poetic, cosmic reminder that this most brilliant of stellar lights is welcoming in the New Year, giving us all hope for a bright new beginning.

JAMES:† And even better, if you happen to miss it on New Year's Eve because it's too cold or cloudy out, don't fret because Sirius will be in almost the same spot at midnight each night for the first week of the new year.

DEAN:† And think about thisÖ as you gaze up at Sirius this New Year's Eve. While our sun is a million miles wide, relatively cool, yellow star, Sirius is a much hotter, almost twice as wide white star. And it's very closeÖ cosmically speaking

JAMES:† Thatís right, Dean.† Sirius is only 8 1/2 light years away, which means that when we look at Sirius this New Year's Eve, we will actually be seeing the light that left it 8 1/2 years ago in June of 2003.† So as you ring in 2012, step outside at midnight this Saturday night and make your New Year bright with cosmic light.

DEAN:† And while youíre outside, make sure you catch a glimpse of Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system.† Jupiter will be the bright white light in the south west just before midnight.

JAMES:† AhÖ and letís not forget our friend Mars.† If you go outside an hour or so before midnight on New Years Eve, youíll see a waxing crescent moon setting in the west, and the red planet Mars, rising in the east.

DEAN:† Well, my friendsÖ make this New Yearís Eve a safe and special one.

JAMES:† And remember, whatever you do...

BOTH:† Keep looking up!

 

Episode #11-52 "Ring in 2012 with Star Gazers' Special New Year's Eve Star "
Air Dates December 26- January 1, 2012



ONE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
JAMES:† Greetings fellow stargazers!† This week is the last week of 2011, and Dean and I have a great way to ring in the New Year!

DEAN:† Yes, with a stellar New Yearís Eve tradition and some planets as well. Letís show you!

DEAN: †O.K., we've got our skies set up for an hour before midnight your local time this Saturday, December 31st, New Year's Eve, facing due south.† No matter where you happen to be on New Year's Eve, Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky, will slowly climb up the southeastern sky and at midnight it will reach its highest point.

JAMES:† And this happens at midnight every New Year's Eve. And while youíre outside, make sure you do some planet watching. Jupiter will be the bright white light in the west just before midnight, and if you look toward the opposite horizon, youíll see the red planet Mars, rising in the east.

DEAN:† So as you ring in 2012, step outside at midnight this Saturday night and make your New Year bright with cosmic light.

JAMES:† Happy New Year and...

BOTH:† Keep looking up!

 

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