WPBT2's Star Gazers

Episode #12-33 "Two Planets at Night and Two Planets in the Morning"
Air Dates August 13 - August 19, 2012



FIVE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
JAMES: Hey there Star Gazers. I’m James Albury, director of the Kika Silva Pla Planetarium in Gainesville, Florida.

DEAN: And I’m Dean Regas, astronomer for the Cincinnati Observatory. We’re here to help you find your way around the sky tonight. Okay, I’ve got something nerdy to admit.

JAMES: What’s that?

DEAN: Ever since Venus transited the sun in June, I’ve kinda missed it. I mean, Venus was visible every night this spring in the evening sky, and now…

JAMES: Well, Venus is back… in the morning sky. I know this is tough for you, but get up before the sun rises and you’ll not only find Venus but Jupiter as well.

DEAN: All right, I’ll set my alarm, but we also have to talk about two planets in the night sky. Mars and Saturn will have a close encounter with the star Spica.

JAMES: Let’s show you!

(STOP DROP)

DEAN: OK, we have our sky set to 5 a.m. any night this week facing east. Let’s go planet hunting, and luckily it’s pretty easy since the two brightest planets are right there.

JAMES: The brightest star-like object, lower to the eastern horizon is your beloved Venus.

DEAN: Ah, there she is. Hey Venus!

JAMES: You’ll be able to see Venus only in the predawn sky for the next several months, so you’ll have time to greet the dawn with Venus in tow.

(ZOOM IN)

JAMES: When we zoom into Venus with a telescope, we can see her phase. This week Venus is halfway lit up because the sunlight is coming at her from an angle. You can actually use the lit side of Venus as an arrow to point you to where the sun will rise a little later.

(ZOOM OUT)

DEAN: Up a little higher in the sky, farther to the south, and not as bright as Venus you’ll find the planet Jupiter. Jupiter is still brighter than any other stars so he’ll be easy to spot.

JAMES: Just to Jupiter’s right you’ll find the bright orange star called Aldebaran. This star marks the bull’s eye, of Taurus the Bull that is. Can we see the outline of the bull? Thanks. The five stars making a tight “v” shape is Taurus’ face and this is a great area to look with binoculars because you’ll find an open star cluster called the Hyades.

DEAN: OK, let’s switch to my preferred time to star gaze… nighttime!

(STOP)

DEAN: Now we have our sky set to Sunday August 19th at 9 p.m. facing west-southwest. It’s not completely dark outside but you’ll need to look west just after sunset to catch a cool planet, planet, star conjunction.

JAMES: As it gets darker, the first star you’ll see is Arcturus up higher in the west. Arcturus is the brightest star in the constellation Bootes the Herdsman.

DEAN: Then at 9:30 pm, closer to the horizon you’ll spy three stars of equal brightness. Two of them are really planets and only one is a star. Guess which is which?

JAMES: It’s definitely hard to tell just by looking so take down these notes as we zoom into this temporary triangle.

(STOP ZOOM IN – US HOVERING)

JAMES: The star at the bottom of the triangle is actually a star – the star Spica, brightest star in the constellation Virgo. Upon closer examination, Spica has a blueish tint to it, telling us of its temperature - about 22,000 degrees Celsius. That’s a lot hotter than our yellow, 5,800-degree sun.

DEAN: The planet Saturn is on the upper right of the triangle. I’ve been enjoying the rings of Saturn through my telescope since spring – they are simply incredible! But, as fall approaches, Saturn will soon catch up to the sunset and head the way of Venus – only to reappear in the morning skies three months from now.

JAMES: The planet Mars is on the upper left of our triangle. Mars should look a little oranger than the other stars and it’s the faintest of the three objects in our triangle - despite being easily the closest.

DEAN: Mars is almost on the other side of the solar system from us – at about 162 million miles away. Saturn is over 950 million miles away. But that’s nothing compared to the distance to the stars. Spica is 260 light years away. In miles…

JAMES: Spica is 1,500 trillion miles away!

(ZOOM OUT)

JAMES: So we’ve got two planets for you morning people before sunrise – bright Venus…

DEAN: …Hey Venus!...

JAMES: …And giant Jupiter.

DEAN: And we’ve got two planets just after sunset for you night owls – Saturn…

JAMES: Hey Saturn!...

DEAN: …And Mars.

BOTH: Keep looking up!

 

 

Episode #12-33 "Two Planets at Night and Two Planets in the Morning"
Air Dates August 13 - August 19, 2012



ONE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
JAMES: We’ve got two planets for you morning people.

DEAN: And two planets for the night owls.

(STOP DROP)

DEAN: OK, we have our sky set to 5 a.m. this week facing east.

JAMES: The brightest star-like object is Venus. You’ll be able to see Venus only in the predawn sky for the next several months.

DEAN: Up a little higher and not as bright you’ll find the planet Jupiter. Jupiter is still brighter than any other stars so he’ll be easy to spot.

(STOP)

DEAN: Now we have our sky set to Sunday August 19th at 9:30 p.m. facing west. Do you see the triangle low in the sky? Two of those “stars” are planets.

(ZOOMING IN)

JAMES: The star at the bottom of the triangle is actually a star – the star Spica.

DEAN: The ringed planet Saturn is on the upper right of the triangle and the red planet Mars is on the upper left.

JAMES: So look for Venus and Jupiter in the morning…

DEAN: And Saturn and Mars in the evening.

BOTH: Keep looking up!

 

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