WPBT2's Star Gazers

Episode #12-19 "Sunday Solar Eclipse For Some"
Air Dates May 7 - May 13, 2012



FIVE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
DEAN: Hey there Star Gazers. I'm Dean Regas, astronomer for the Cincinnati Observatory.

JAMES: And I'm James Albury, director of the Kika Silva Pla Planetarium in Gainesville, Florida. We're both here to help you find your way around the sky tonight. Hey Dean, doesn't it seem like the U.S. is having a solar eclipse drought?

DEAN: I know, the last one I saw in Cincinnati was in 2005 and it was only a tiny partial eclipse.

JAMES: Well, on May 20th, although I won't be able to see it in Florida, some people in the western U.S. will be treated to a very unique solar eclipse.

DEAN: Okay let's take a space-road trip to see it.

(STOP DROP)

DEAN: First let's check out what's in the sky this week. We have our sky set for about 10 p.m. facing west. There you'll find that brightest of planets, Venus.

JAMES: As it gets darker you might notice a semi-bright star right next to Venus. That's the star El Nath, the right horn of Taurus the bull. El Nath is just a hair over 1 degree away from Venus.

DEAN: Up high in the west, you'll see two stars of similar brightness. You might even call them twins… hint, hint. These are the heads of the Gemini twins, Pollux and Castor. It's hard to picture them but when we connect the dots in this constellation, like H.A. Rey did in his famous book, I can actually see them arm in arm!

(STOP)

JAMES: Okay let's talk about the eclipse! We now have our skies set to Sunday May 20th, and just for you Dean, we are watching the western skies from Cincinnati at 8 pm. Let's zoom into the sun to see what's happening. As we advance the time, we'll start to see the moon slide in front of the sun at 8:25 pm. Let's advance it minute by minute. Then… something gets in the way!

DEAN: That would be the ground. After all, it'll be happening at sunset.

JAMES: So you won't be able to see the rest of the eclipse in the Midwest because the earth will be in the way. But it'll be even worse for me in Florida or those living on the east coast. We won't be able to see any of the eclipse!

DEAN: To see more I need to head west. So I'm going to Reno, Nevada where I'll get a unique view.

(STOP)

DEAN: Here we are in sunny Reno at 5 p.m. Pacific daylight time. When we zoom in on the sun we'll see the moon begin the eclipse at 5:15. Then watch what happens as we move to 5:30… 5:45… 6 o’clock, 6:15… and 6:30. Wow! The moon is not big enough to block out the entire sun. Or to be more precise, the moon is too far away from the earth. This is what's called an annular eclipse. Hey James, show us what it looks like from outer space.

(STOP)

(JAMES IS SPACE ON HOVERBOARD)

JAMES: The moon varies its distance from the earth as it goes around us. At its closest the moon is about 221,000 miles away. That's called perigee and the moon will appear slightly bigger in the sky. The full moon last week was at perigee but did you notice any difference? It’s very subtle. During the eclipse on May 20th, the moon will be near apogee (when it is farthest from the earth). At about 250,000 miles away, the moon won't appear big enough to block out the entire sun.  So we have an annular eclipse.

(STOP)

DEAN: To view the annular eclipse you have to be in the narrow path of annularity. For the May 20th eclipse, this path goes from northern California, through Nevada, southern Utah, northern Arizona and New Mexico. And finally the annular eclipse ends when the sun sets over west Texas.

JAMES: So cities like Eureka, California, Reno, Nevada, St. George, Utah, and Albuquerque, New Mexico will have a perfect view. The farther away you are from this path the less of the eclipse you'll see. But pretty much everyone west of the Great Plains will see at least a partial solar eclipse.

DEAN: Check with your local planetarium, observatory or amateur astronomy club to see if they are planning an eclipse watching party. They'll help keep your eyesight safe when viewing it. For a list of astronomy organizations in your area check out astronomy magazine's handy listing: www.astronomy.com/groups

JAMES: And if you can't see the solar eclipse on May 20th in person be sure to go to www.stargazersonline.org to see a webcast or a rerun if you missed it. Dean, I hope you have clear skies in Reno.

DEAN: Thanks James. I'll take lots of pictures and definitely will…

BOTH: Keep looking up!

 

Episode #12-19 "Sunday Solar Eclipse For Some"
Air Dates May 7 - May 13, 2012



ONE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
JAMES: On May 20th, some people in the western U.S. will be treated to a very unique solar eclipse.

DEAN: Let's take a space-road trip to see the annular eclipse.

(STOP DROP)

JAMES: On the east coast, the eclipse won't be visible because the earth will be in the way.

DEAN: To see more, follow us west to Reno, Nevada where on May 20th the eclipse begins at 5:15 pm, Pacific time. As we move time forward, watch what happens at 6:30 pm. The moon is not big enough to block out the entire sun. This is what's called an annular eclipse.

JAMES: To view the annular eclipse you have to be in the path of annularity. For the May 20th eclipse, this path goes from northern California to west Texas. But pretty much everyone west of the Great Plains will see at least a partial solar eclipse.

DEAN: And if you can't see the solar eclipse on May 20th in person, be sure to go to stargazersonline.org to see a webcast or a rerun if you missed it.

BOTH: Keep looking up!

 

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