WPBT2's Star Gazers

Episode #12-39 "Cygnus the Magnificent"
Air Dates September 24 - September 30, 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…

ALL: Look up!

JAMES: Now that autumn has begun in the northern hemisphere, it’s time to say farewell to the constellations that kept us company all summer long.

MARLENE: That’s right, and one of the most beloved of these constellations is Cygnus the Swan. Even from brightly lit cities, this is a constellation that’s easy to find.

DEAN: But did you know that Cygnus has both a poetic and a scientific history that rivals many of the constellations we can see? Let’s show you.

(STOP & DROP)

DEAN: OK, we have our skies set for just after sunset any night this week. Almost directly overhead, you can see the familiar stars of the summer triangle. Vega,the brightest star in Lyra the Harp, Altair, the brightest star in Aquila the Eagle and Deneb the brightest star in Cygnus the Swan. Cygnus the Swan has been an area of fascination for story tellers and astronomers alike for thousands of years.

JAMES: To find the Swan, simply draw a line from Deneb inward toward the center of the summer triangle. The first star you’ll encounter is Sadr (also known as Gamma Cygni). This marks the heart of the Swan. Then if you draw lines to the west and east of this star, you’ll find two more stars (Eta and Omicron Cygni). These mark the right and left wings of the Swan. Going back to the star Sadr, we continue to draw a line inward to form the neck of the Swan, ending at the star Albireo.

MARLENE: In one legend, Cygnus the Swan is said to be the great musician Orpheus who was transformed into a swan, and placed in the sky next to his harp, the constellation, Lyra.

DEAN: In another legend, Cygnus is said to be Zeus, when he transformed himself into a swan to seduce Leda, the mother of Helen of Troy, Clytemnestra and the Gemini twins, Castor and Pollux.

JAMES: However, in modern times, Cygnus has turned out to be a place of great discoveries.

(STOP & DROP)

JAMES: During a rocket flight in 1964, a galactic x-ray source known as Cygnus X-1 was discovered. Cygnus X-1 is now widely accepted to be a candidate for the first black hole we’ve discovered and it’s estimated to have a mass almost 15 times the mass of our sun and an event horizon radius of only about 16 miles.

DEAN: In more recent times, Cygnus has been the target of study by NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope. The Kepler Telescope is studying over 100,000 stars in Cygnus. Its goal is to find planets orbiting other stars, and in the past year, several of these extra-solar planets have been discovered and confirmed. The planet Kepler- 22B was recently announced as being the first “earth-like” planet orbiting a sun-like star. This planet is over 600 light years away and orbits in the habitable zone where liquid water can exist. With a possible surface temperature near 73 degrees fahrenheit, Kepler-22B is quite the “Goldilocks planet”, if i do say so myself.

JAMES: Speaking of planets, Marlene, show us what our planets are doing this week.

(STOP AND DROP)

MARLENE: OK, we have our skies set for just after sunset any night this week. If you look to the west, low on the horizon you might be able to catch one last look at the ringed planet Saturn before it moves into the morning sky. Saturn and our earth are on opposite sides of the solar system right now, so as the days pass, Saturn will rapidly go behind the sun as we zip around the sun to catch up with Saturn again in the morning sky.

DEAN: Also low on the horizon, you’ll be able to see the evening return of the tiny planet Mercury. If you’ve been watching Mercury during the year, it’s been zooming back and forth from evening to morning to evening sky. Mercury is traveling around the sun at over 100,000 miles per hour, and can complete one orbit in just under 3 month’s time. So, in the time it takes for us to orbit the sun once, Mercury orbits the sun a little more than four times.

JAMES: Just to the left of Saturn, you can find the red planet, Mars. Mars is in the constellation Libra, and relatively close to its rival, Antares, the red supergiant star marking the heart of Scorpius the Scorpion. You can see Mars cradled in the Scorpion’s claws and as the days pass, it creeps closer and closer to the dreaded Scorpion.

DEAN: And lastly for you early birds, within an hour before sunrise, you can see the giant planet Jupiter almost directly overhead in the constellation of Taurus the Bull. And if you look toward the east, the dazzling planet Venus gets cozy with the bright star Regulus, the heart of Leo the Lion.

MARLENE: Well, there you have it. A beautiful Swan that is the center of a great modern discovery…

JAMES: Saturn, Mercury and Mars in the evening…

DEAN: And Jupiter and Venus, a pair of morning dazzlers.

ALL: Keep looking up!

 

Episode #12-39 "Cygnus the Magnificent"
Air Dates September 24 - September 30, 2012



ONE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
JAMES: Now that autumn has begun in the northern hemisphere, it’s time to say farewell to the constellations of summer.

DEAN: And one of the most beloved of these constellations is Cygnus the Swan. But did you know that Cygnus has both a poetic and a scientific history that rivals many of the constellations we can see?
Let’s show you.

(STOP & DROP)

DEAN: OK, we have our skies set for just after sunset any night this week. Almost directly overhead, you can see the familiar stars of the summer triangle. Deneb, one of the stars of the triangle, marks the tail of Cygnus, and you can form an image of the Swan flying across the heavens by connecting the remaining stars to form a cross.

JAMES: Although a source of ancient lore, Cygnus the Swan has also been an area of recent astronomical discovery. Not only was the first black hole we’ve discovered found here, but also numerous extra-solar planets, one of them being Kepler-22B, the first “Earth- like” planet orbiting a sun-like star.

DEAN: So, get outside this week and check out Cygnus the Swan.

BOTH: Keep looking up!

 

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