WPBT2's Star Gazers

Episode #12-01 "Friday The 13th is Good Luck For Finding Planets"
Air Dates January 2- January 8, 2012



FIVE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
JAMES: Welcome to Star Gazers. 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 . We're both here to help you be sure you know what you're seeing in the night sky when you...

BOTH: Look up.†

JAMES: Friday next week will be Friday the 13th, and it will be just the first of three such fridays that we'll have during 2012.

DEAN: Are you getting a little triskaidekaphobic on us?

JAMES: Nope, just telling you what's coming up. For instance, Venus will be getting higher and brighter each night throughout January. In fact, Venus will keep getting higher after sunset each night and brightening through the end of March.

DEAN: Let's take a look at the southwestern sky next week and see what we can see.

(Stop and drop)

DEAN: O.K., we've got our skies set for about an hour after sunset facing southwest. The brilliant beacon of light you see about two fists above the horizon is the planet Venus. Venus is so bright for two reasons. It's fairly close to earth in space and it reflects almost 2/3 of the light reaching it from the sun.

JAMES: Venus reflects so much light because it has a thick layer of sulfuric acid clouds in its atmosphere of carbon dioxide, unlike Mars and Mercury. Venus' carbon dioxide causes Venus to hang on to much of the heat it gets from the sun, so that Venus is about 900 degrees on its surface.

DEAN: Not some place I'd like to spend much time. Venus is so bright that it sometimes seems to sparkle. Some eyes actually see the image of Venus flashing and seeming to send out spikes of brilliance, but it doesnít really. It just shines on and on.

JAMES: And next week we can use Venus as a finder to locate the most distant planet in the solar system.

DEAN: You mean Pluto?

JAMES: Come on Dean, you're just messing with me. You know as well as i do that Pluto had its planet license revoked several years ago. No, I'm talking about the 31,000 mile wide, blue ball of methane called Neptune, now the most distant planet in the solar system.

DEAN: Neptune is usually quite difficult to locate in the sky because it's so faint and so far away. Next week Neptune will be almost 3 billion miles away, that's billion with a 'b'. The sun is only 93 million miles away, thatís million with an 'm'. Remember that one billion is a thousand times a million.

JAMES: Next week on Friday the 13th, Venus will be in just the right spot to help us find Neptune with a pair of binoculars. Friday the 13th is not so unlucky now, huh? Even with Venusí help, Neptune will be too faint to spot with the naked eye. So a pair of binoculars or a small telescope will be necessary.

DEAN: Let's start on January the 11th, about an hour after the sun goes down, when Neptune will be 2 degrees above Venus and then look each night as Venus passes in front of Neptune. Remember to go out about an hour after sunset because the sky will be getting dark and Venus will still be high above the horizon. On the next night, the 12th, Neptune will be less than 1 and a half degrees up and to the right of Venus.

JAMES: Then on the night of Friday the 13th, Neptune will be only about one degree to the right of Venus. Remember that Neptune will be about 25 times as far away as Venus. On the next night, the 14th, Neptune will be almost two degrees away and will steadily get farther away after that. Don't miss this chance to use the brightest planet to help you find and identify the dimmest planet.

DEAN: While you're out there with your binoculars, take a look up and to the left of Venus and find bright Jupiter, the second brightest planet. Venus and Jupiter are getting closer each night as they head for their super close approach in early March. Venus will pass about 3 degrees to the right of Jupiter on the 13th of March. The two brightest planets will be extremely close together in the evening sky.

JAMES: Jupiter is an especially good target for binoculars because you can see four of its many moons with just a pair of 7 power binoculars. And no, we haven't forgotten you early birds. Here is our early morning sky lover Dean to tell you all about Mars, Saturn and the moon on the morning of Friday the 13th.

DEAN: Yes you're right; Mars will be shining brightly up and to the left of the waning gibbous moon on Friday morning. Saturn will be off to the left of Mars but not as bright. On the 16th, a skinnier last quarter moon will be less than a fist below Saturn.

JAMES: So Friday the 13th can be quite a help as you

BOTH: Keep looking up!

 

Episode #12-01 "Friday The 13th is Good Luck For Finding Planets"
Air Dates January 2- January 8, 2012



ONE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
DEAN: The brilliant beacon of light you see in the southwest, about an hour after sunset, is the planet Venus.

JAMES: Next week on Friday the 13th, Venus will be in just the right spot to help you find the most distant planet Neptune. Even with Venus' help, Neptune will be too faint to spot with the naked eye, so you'll need a pair of binoculars or a small telescope.

DEAN: On the night of Friday the 13th, Neptune will† be† about one degree to the right of Venus. But even though it looks close to Venus, Neptune will really be about 25 times farther away.

JAMES: While you're out there, take a look up and to the left of Venus and find bright Jupiter, the second brightest planet. Venus and Jupiter will get closer each night as they head for their super close approach in early March.

DEAN: Venus will point out Neptune on Friday the 13th,† plus the two brightest planets get closer together in the evening sky.

BOTH: Keep looking up!

 

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