WPBT2's Star Gazers

Episode #12-18 "Arc to Arcturus,Then Speed On To Saturn And Spica"
Air Dates April 30 - May 6, 2012



FIVE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
MARLENE: Welcome to Star Gazers. I'm Marlene Hidalgo and this is James Albury and Dean Regas,

DEAN; We're here to help you be sure you know what you're seeing in the night sky when you...

THREE: Look up. 

JAMES: May is always a good time to play the old Big Dipper -- Arc to Arcturus - -then speed on to Spica Game, which is simply the easiest way to find two of the most wonderful stars of spring. But this year there's a planet in the way. Let's show you.

STOP AND DROP

DEAN: O.K., we've got our skies set up for the first two weeks of May, 9 to 10 p.m. facing northeast where you'll see the Big Dipper high up above the North Star, its cup pointed down in such a way that if it were filled full of water the water would be pouring out directly on to the ground below. And, as always, if we shoot an arrow through the two end stars in the cup and go about 5 and a half times the distance between them, we always land smack dab on the North Star. That's about the easiest way to find it.

JAMES: But aside from using the cup as an easy way to find the North Star we can use its handle to find two even more wonderful stars and a planet. Simply draw an imaginary line through the handle of the Big Dipper and extend it in the same curve or arc and you'll arc to the bright star Arcturus. Then if you extend that arc from Arcturus you can speed on to Spica the brightest star of Virgo the Virgin.

MARLENE:  But this year there's an extra point of light in front of Spica that's not always there. Once again using the Big Dipper's handle and its curve, Arc-to-Arcturus then speed- on-to-Saturn first and beyond it, Spica. Star Gazers have been doing this little trick every May for years and it always works but this year Saturn is in the way, why? Remember that the word planet comes from Greek and means “wandering star?”

DEAN: Well the planet, the wandering star, Saturn makes one complete circuit of the sky in about 30 years and just happens to be in the right place this year to crash our Arc-to-Arcturus and speed-on-to-Spica party.

MARLENE: Let's go back a year to 2011 and you'll see Saturn was up here. Next year 2013 Saturn will be past Spica and the next year 2014 even farther below. But the Arc-to-Arcturus and speed-on-to Spica trick works just fine every year.

JAMES: Now brighter Arcturus is relatively close for a star, only 37 light years away, which means we actually see the light that left it 37 years ago, whereas Spica is almost 8 times farther away than Arcturus, 263 light years away, which means we see the light that left it 263 years ago. Saturn in comparison, is right on top of us, only 822 million miles away and its light takes only 74 minutes to get here.

STOP AND FLY

MARLENE: And while we would need 12 Saturns to get across the sun, since it's only 76,000 miles wide, Spica is a whopping 8 times as wide as our sun, Arcturus is a staggering 21 times as wide. But size isn't everything because even though Arcturus is much, much larger than Spica it is a much, much cooler star with a surface temperature of only 9,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

JAMES: Spica on the other hand has a surface temperature of 46,000 degrees, which actually makes Spica 20 times intrinsically brighter than much bigger Arcturus. The reason Spica doesn't look as bright is because it is so much farther away.

STOP DROP

DEAN: But the really mind boggling thing about these two stars is their incredible speed in relation to our earth. You see while more distant Spica is flying away from us at a speed of 2000 miles per hour, Arcturus is actually racing toward us at the incredible speed of 12,000 miles per hour, so fast that Arcturus will eventually pass us in several thousand years. In fact, in a few hundred thousand years Arcturus will no longer be visible to the naked eye.

JAMES: So before it's too late, see it now. Remember find the Big Dipper first, arc to Arcturus then speed on to Spica.

MARLENE: And remember, as an added treat this year only, you'll see the ringed planet Saturn parked right in front of Spica. Wow! What could be easier and more fun?

THREE: Keep looking up!

 

Episode #12-18 "Arc to Arcturus,Then Speed On To Saturn And Spica"
Air Dates April 30 - May 6, 2012



ONE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
JAMES:  May is always a good time to play the old Big Dipper -- arc to Arcturus - -then speed on to Spica Game,

DEAN:  Which is simply the easiest way to find two of the most wonderful stars of spring.

MARLENE:  But this year there's a planet in the way. Let's show you.

STOP AND DROP

MARLENE:  Did you know you can use the Big Dipper to find two of the most wonderful stars of spring? Look for the Big Dipper then shoot an arrow through its handle and you'll arc to Arcturus the brightest star of Bootes. Continue that arrow and you'll speed on to Spica the brightest star of Virgo. But this year the planet Saturn is blocking the way to Spica.

DEAN:  Spica is 8 times as wide as our sun but Arcturus is 20 times as wide while Saturn is very tiny in comparison.

STOP AND DROP

JAMES:  And while Spica is flying away from earth at the speed of 2000 miles per hour, Arcturus is actually racing toward us at the incredible speed of 12,000 miles per hour. 

DEAN:  So arc to Arcturus then speed on to Saturn and Spica.

THREE:  Keep looking up!

 

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