WPBT2's Star Gazers

Episode #12-36 "Celestial Navigation with a Spoon and a 'W'"
Air Dates September 3 - September 9, 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. Fellow stargazer Marlene Hidalgo will be joining us to help you find your way around the sky tonight. Hey James, Are you seeking direction in your life?

JAMES: Why, have I seemed more aimless than usual?

DEAN: No I’m talking about how the stars can tell you where north, south, east, and west are.

JAMES: Aha, this is a great month to share our tips for finding Polaris, aka, the North Star.

DEAN: And along the way, we’ll show you the Big Dipper, Little Dipper and Cassiopeia –the three major constellations of the northern sky, and visit a flying horse too.

(STOP DROP)

DEAN: Okay, we have our sky set to any night this week, at 9 pm, facing north. Since we’re facing north, the North Star should be there somewhere, but where is it?

JAMES: Contrary to popular opinion, the North Star is NOT the brightest star in the sky. That honor belongs to Sirius, the Dog Star. In fact, Polaris ranks about 48th in brightness and through city light pollution, it’s just barely visible.

DEAN: Well, what makes Polaris so darned special? Marlene, show us what it looks like in outer space.

(STOP)

MARLENE: Polaris resides almost directly over our North Pole. So as the Earth rotates causing day and night and the daily motions of all the stars and planets, the North Star barely moves. That means all night this star shines in the Northern sky - making it the perfect stellar sentinel. As the world turns and the night goes on, the stars appear to rotate in a counterclockwise motion. This motion gives us the appearance that the sky spins once a day with a pivot point at Polaris. Of course it’s the Earth that’s spinning not the sky!

(STOP)

DEAN: Since the Little Dipper has some very faint stars, finding the North Star can be tough. But never fear - the other dipper is here! The Big Dipper is much more distinct and can be seen even from urban areas. You can find the Big Dipper about to scoop the northwestern ground in early evening. The ancient Greeks and some Native American groups called these stars a big bear. But have you ever seen a bear with a tail like that? It looks more like a raccoon to me.

JAMES: So tonight we’re going to star hop - use the more notable stars of the Big Dipper as pointers. Connect the dots of the two stars at the end of the Big Dipper's spoon. They’re called Merak and Dubhe. Continue that line up and to the right and BINGO they’ll point you right to Polaris.

DEAN: We’re not done with the Big Dipper’s pointer stars yet. If you go from the Big Dipper to the North Star, keep going, because you will run into a star at the top of a “W” shaped constellation. The star’s name is Caph and now you’ve discovered Cassiopeia the Queen. Can you see the beautiful, boastful queen sitting on her throne?

JAMES: Uhhhh… no!

DEAN: Me neither, so I picture these stars as her crown glittering in the northeastern sky.
James: Ahhh, that’s better. And Cassiopeia is easy to find as you hop across the heavens. The distance between the Big Dipper and Polaris is the same as the distance from Polaris to Cassiopeia.

(STOP)

MARLENE: But wait, there’s more. Hop from the Big Dipper’s spoon to Polaris… on to Cassiopeia… and make one more hop. This will take you to the corner of a huge square of four stars. It almost looks like a baseball diamond – and we’ve landed on third base, a star called Alpheratz.

(ZOOM IN)

This is really the body of Pegasus the Flying Horse. Let’s see the picture… Wow, that takes some imagination! He’s flying upside-down!

It may be hard to picture, but it’s easy to find once you start star-hopping. And remember Alpheratz? This star not only marks Pegasus’ flank but is also the head of the beautiful princess Andromeda. She looks like a long, stretched-out letter “A”.

(STOP)

JAMES: So the Big Dipper will point you a ton of stars and constellations. First follow the end of the spoon to Polaris, then on to the “W”…

DEAN: Cassiopeia…

JAMES: Then to the great square…

DEAN: Pegasus…

JAMES: That also takes you to an “A”…

DEAN: For Andromeda. Whew! What a trip! So now that you can find the North Star, you'll never be lost again!

BOTH: Keep looking up!

 

Episode #12-36 "Celestial Navigation with a Spoon and a 'W'"
Air Dates September 3 - September 9, 2012



ONE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
DEAN: Are you seeking direction in your life? The stars can help. Well, they can at least point you north.

JAMES: This week, we’ll share our tip for finding Polaris, the North Star.

(STOP DROP)

DEAN: Okay, we have our sky set to any night this week, at 9pm, facing north. Since we’re facing north, the North Star should be there somewhere, but where is it?

JAMES: It’s not easy to find. Use the more notable stars of the Big Dipper as pointers. Connect the dots of the two stars at the end of the Big Dipper's spoon. Continue that line up and to the right and BINGO they’ll point you right to Polaris.

DEAN: We’re not done yet. If you go from the Big Dipper to the North Star, keep going, because you will run into a star at the top of a “W” shaped constellation. The star’s name is Caph and now you’ve discovered Cassiopeia the Queen.

JAMES: So now that you can find the North Star, you'll never be lost again!

BOTH: Keep looking up!

 

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