WPBT2's Star Gazers

Episode #12-21 "Triangles, Triangles"
Air Dates May 21 - May 27, 2012



FIVE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
JAMES: Welcome to Star Gazers. I'm James Albury.

MARLENE: And I'm Marlene Hidalgo.

DEAN: And I’m Dean Regas, and we’re here to help you be sure you know what you're seeing in the night sky when you look up.

JAMES: Summer is almost here and our favorite winter constellations are almost gone, but don't despair! We have some pretty nice triangles that are going to dazzle the night sky.

MARLENE: That's right! One of the triangles you see every summer, but the other one is formed by a unique arrangement of the planets.

DEAN: Wondering what we’re talking about? Let’s show you!

(STOP DROP)

DEAN: Ok, we have our skies set for anytime this week just after sunset. If you look to the west, you'll see our favorite constellations of the winter season, bidding us a fond farewell. Close to the horizon, you'll also see the planet Venus, on her way toward her transit of the sun in just a few weeks.

MARLENE: Next take a look high in the south western sky for the first object in triangle number one, the red planet Mars. It's just below the constellation Leo the Lion. You can find Mars easily because it is between the bright star Regulus, which marks the heart of Leo the Lion, and the 2nd brightest star in Leo, Denebola, which marks the tail. Also, remember that planets don’t twinkle, and since Mars is still fairly close to us, you should still be able to detect its reddish color.

JAMES: The next part of the triangle is a star that appears high in the sky every year at this time. It’s the orange star Arcturus, the brightest star in Bootes the Herdsman. You can find it easily by using the stars of the Big Dipper. Take the three stars in the handle of the big dipper and trace out an arc to Arcturus. This star is so bright because it’s only 37 light years away from us, but it is also 26 times wider and over 113 times brighter than the Sun.

DEAN: And the last part of our triangle is formed by the 2nd largest planet in our solar system; the ringed planet, Saturn. Saturn is in an excellent spot for viewing right now and its rings are tipped toward us in such a way that if you have a small telescope, you’ll get a picture-perfect view of a planet that Galileo first described as having ears.

MARLENE: So there you have it, Mars… Arcturus… and Saturn; a perfect triangle. You’re probably asking yourself, but what about that star just below Saturn? That’s the bright blue star Spica, and right now it forms almost a perfect line with Saturn and Arcturus. Spica is actually two hot blue stars that orbit very close to each other. What makes Spica so bright is that even though Spica is 250 light years away, it gives off more than 10,000 times as much radiation as our Sun.

JAMES: Alrighty, let's take a look at our second triangle for the evening.

(STOP & DROP)

JAMES: Ok, we have our skies set to midnight and if you look east you will see the 3 brilliant stars of the summer triangle, having just risen over the eastern horizon: Vega, the brightest star of Lyra the Harp; Deneb, the brightest star of Cygnus the Swan and Altair, the brightest star of Aquila, the Eagle.

DEAN: The brightest star in the triangle is Vega and it's only 25 light years from earth, and along with Arcturus, Vega is one of the most luminous stars in our neighborhood. Believe it or not, Vega was our north star way back in 12,000 BC and it will be again in 13,727 AD, thanks to the top-like wobble our Earth makes over the course of 26,000 years.

MARLENE: The second brightest star in the summer triangle is Altair and it is only 17 light years from Earth. Of all the stars near us, Altair spins the fastest. At its equator, Altair can make one complete rotation in only 9 hours! Compare that to our Sun, which takes 26 days to complete one rotation. This rapid spinning has caused Altair to flatten out like an M&M.

JAMES: Yum! I like M&Ms! The last star of the summer triangle is the blue-white supergiant Deneb. Deneb is almost 60,000 times as bright as our Sun, however, because it's almost 1,500 light years away from us, it appears much fainter than Vega and Altair. Deneb is almost 110 times as wide as our Sun, so if Deneb were in our solar system, its outer edge would extend almost half way to the orbit of the Earth!

MARLENE: So there you have it, two bright triangles to light up your night sky. Mars, Arcturus and Saturn.

DEAN: And the summer triangle, Vega, Altair and Deneb.

JAMES: Ok, my friends! Out under the sky with you and remember, whatever you do…

ALL: Keep looking up!

 

Episode #12-21 "Triangles, Triangles"
Air Dates May 21 - May 27, 2012



ONE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
JAMES: Welcome to Star Gazers. I’m James Albury.

MARLENE: And I'm Marlene Hidalgo and we have two awesome triangles to show you!

(STOP DROP)

MARLENE: Ok, we have our skies set to an hour after sunset and if you take a look high in the southwestern sky the red planet Mars is just below the constellation Leo the Lion.

JAMES: To left of Mars, you'll see the bright star Arcturus and below that, you'll see ringed planet Saturn. Now let's look at our second triangle.

DEAN: If you look to the east just after midnight, you'll see the 3 brilliant stars of the summer triangle, Vega, the brightest star of Lyra the Harp; Deneb, the brightest star of Cygnus the Swan and Altair, the brightest star of Aquila, the Eagle.

JAMES: So there you have it, two bright triangles to light up your night sky. Mars, Arcturus and Saturn.

MARLENE: and the summer triangle… Vega, Altair and Deneb.

JAMES: Ok, my friends! Out under the stars with you and remember, whatever you do…

BOTH: Keep looking up!

 

Star Gazers Home Page Back to WPBT2.org Miami Science Museum Kika Silva Pla Planetarium | Santa Fe College The Cincinnati Observatory Support Star Gazes with your donation