WPBT2's Star Gazers

Episode #12-29 "It’s Zubeneschamali and Zubenelgenubi Time!"
Air Dates July 16 - July 22, 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: Once again, my friends it's Zubeneschamali and Zubenelgenubi time!

DEAN: So loosen up your tongue…

MARLENE: And fasten your cosmic seat belts…

JAMES: And let's go outside to find them!

(STOP & DROP)

DEAN: OK, we've got our skies set up for any night during the next couple of weeks just after it gets dark out. And if you look south you will see the giant fish-hook shaped constellation of Scorpius the Scorpion, followed by the teapot shaped portion of Sagittarius. But up and to the right of the fish-hook of Scorpius you'll see two semi-bright stars with some of the strangest sounding names in the heavens, Zubeneschamali and Zubenelgenubi.

JAMES: Now in Arabic, Zubeneschamali means 'the northern claw' while Zubenelgenubi means 'the southern claw’. And about three thousand years ago they were the claws of the scorpion. But then Julius Caesar and his cronies came along and lopped them off and renamed them “Libra the Scales” for the symbol of Roman justice. Which I'm sure led many an ancient star gazer to mutter, ..."There oughta be a law!"

MARLENE: At any rate, these two stars are wonderful and although they appear visually to be the same brightness from earth, actually they are very, very different. For instance, Zubenelgenubi is about 65 light years away from our planet earth and shines 25 times brighter than our own sun, and it is approaching us at the incredible speed of 6 miles per second. And upon closer examination we also find that Zubenelgenubi is not just one, not even two, but three stars, two of them so close together that they orbit each other once every 20 days.

DEAN: On the other hand, Zubeneschamali, the northern claw is over twice as far away as Zubenelgenubi being 140 light years distant. And although it appears the same brightness as its claw companion, it isn't. For it is 6 times brighter than Zubenelgenubi which means that it is over 150 times brighter than our sun. And it is speeding toward us four times faster than Zubenelgenubi at a rate of 21 miles per second. Furthermore, Zubeneschamali is also at the center of a centuries old debate.

JAMES: You see, over two thousand years ago it was listed as the brightest of all the stars of the scorpion, even brighter than Antares. A few centuries later however, the great astronomer Ptolemy described Antares as equal to Zubeneschamali in brightness. But today Antares appears 5 times brighter. Has Zubeneschamali dimmed over the past two thousand years? Or, conversely, has Antares gotten much, much brighter? At any rate, it's always fun to try to pronounce these two tongue-twisters of summer.

MARLENE: Absolutely! Now let’s see what the planets are doing this week!

(STOP & DROP)

MARLENE: OK, we have our skies set for just after sunset this week, and you’re going to have a great opportunity to watch the planet Mars wander closer and closer to the ringed planet Saturn and the brightest star in Virgo, Spica. Indeed, as the nights pass, the red planet, named after the Roman god of war, will be inching ever closer night by night toward a beautiful conjunction with Saturn on the night of August 7th, 2012.

JAMES: But wait there’s more! On the night of July 24th, a slender crescent moon will cozy up with Mars, Saturn and Spica to form a cosmic trapezoid that you won’t soon forget. Here’s where Mars will be on July the 16th…the 18th… the 20th… the 22nd… and the 24th. And if you haven’t had a chance to look at Saturn, this is a great time to find it because it will be right next to the star Spica.

DEAN: Spica and Saturn form an almost straight line with the star Arcturus; the brightest star of Bootes the Herdsman. If you remember, just a few months ago in March, Saturn formed a triangle with Arcturus and Spica. Because we and all the other planets are traveling around the sun, over time, the planets appear to change their position against the background stars. Hence the name “planet” which translated from Greek means “wanderer”.

MARLENE: So get outside and watch the “wanderers” do what they do best…

JAMES: And don’t forget to do some Zubeneschamali-ing and Zubenelgenubi-ing while you’re at it.

DEAN: It's easy to do, if you remember to…

ALL: Keep looking up!

 

 

Episode #12-29 "It’s Zubeneschamali and Zubenelgenubi Time!"
Air Dates July 16 - July 22, 2012



ONE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
JAMES: Welcome to star gazers. I’m James Albury.

DEAN: And I’m Dean Regas.

JAMES: Once again, my friends it's Zubeneschamali and Zubenelgenubi time!

DEAN: So, let's go outside to find them!

(STOP & DROP)

DEAN: OK, we've got our skies set up for just after sunset any night next week. And if you look south you will see the giant fish-hook shaped constellation of Scorpius the Scorpion, followed by the teapot shaped portion of Sagittarius. But up and to the right of the fish-hook of Scorpius you'll see two semi-bright stars with some of the strangest sounding names in the heavens, Zubeneschamali and Zubenelgenubi.

JAMES: In Arabic, Zubeneschamali means 'the northern claw' while Zubenelgenubi means 'the southern claw’. And about three thousand years ago they were the claws of the scorpion. But then Julius Caesar and his cronies came along and lopped them off and renamed them “Libra the Scales” for the symbol of Roman justice.

DEAN: There ought to be a law!

JAMES: Hee hee hee… so get thee outside and do some Zubeneschamali-ing and Zubenelgenubi-ing!

DEAN: And it's easy to do, if you remember to…

BOTH: Keep looking up!

 

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