WPBT2's Star Gazers

Episode #12-40 "The Planets Dance At Twilight And The Return Of The False Dawn"
Air Dates October 1 - October 7, 2012



FIVE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
MARLENE: Welcome star gazers, I'm Marlene Hidalgo,

JAMES: And I'm James Albury….

DEAN : And I'm Dean Regas. We're here to make sure you know what you're looking at when you…

THREE:  Look up!

STOP AND DROP!

MARLENE: As fall begins we notice that the dark of night is arriving earlier each day. Those long twilight evenings of summer are disappearing fast.

DEAN: And if you'll pay close attention to where the sun sets each night next week, you'll see that the sun sets a little farther to the south each evening.

JAMES: That's right Dean, so pick out a landmark near where the sun sets and notice exactly where the sun sets each night next week. Stand in the exact same spot and notice exactly where the sun sets on the horizon, write it down…

MARLENE: And time it!  If you do, you'll see that the sun not only sets earlier each evening but it also sets a little bit farther south each evening. And by sunset we mean the time when the last bit of the sun's upper edge disappears.

 DEAN: And then after sunset look off to the left of where the sun went down and see if you can spot Mars, Saturn and Mercury. They'll be quite low and it's not certain you'll see them but give it a try. Saturn will get closer to the sun each night and will soon disappear and then reappear in the early morning sky in early November.

JAMES: Mars and Mercury on the other hand, are getting farther from the sun each night but not much higher, because the ecliptic is at a very shallow angle to the horizon so they're moving off sideways, toward the south. Then take a look to the east around 9:30 and you'll see Jupiter rising and taking over the evening planet business for the rest of this year.

STOP

MARLENE: Make a note on your calendar to look into the southwest after sunset on the evening of October 17 when you'll spot a three day old crescent moon between Mars and Mercury. The next night the 18th the moon will be a bit fatter and on the left side of Mars. Now let's switch to the pre-dawn sky facing east and brilliant Venus is sure to catch your eye.

DEAN: About six degrees above Venus is Regulus the heart star of Leo the lion. Notice how far apart they are on Monday the 8th, because every day next week Venus will drop another degree or so farther below Regulus. That's about two full moon widths farther apart each day. Here's the 8th, the 9th, the 10th,

JAMES: On the 11th you'll see a crescent moon about fifteen degrees above Venus. Venus keeps moving each day but the moon moves much faster. On the 12th the moon will have caught up with Venus and on the 13th will have moved well past it. Then on the morning of the 14th get up and get out about two hours before sunrise and carefully look at the area above and below Venus. If you have good clear and dark skies, the two weeks after October 14 should be a great time to see the false dawn of Omar Khayyam.

STOP

MARLENE: We discussed what creates this false dawn, the zodiacal light, a few weeks ago. It's reflected sunlight from a layer of dust in the ecliptic, the plane of the planets.  And the ecliptic is very nearly vertical the next two weeks. And those two weeks after the new moon on October 15th will be a great time to try to find the zodiacal light. Remember that you must have a very dark sky, free of city lights, to see it.  But this false dawn is well worth the effort it takes to see it.

STOP

DEAN: So let's recap. As fall comes on, the sun will set earlier and earlier each night as the days get shorter and shorter and the nights longer. Plus the sun will set farther and farther to the south each night. And you can see all this for your self if you observe carefully. Plus you can spot Mars, Saturn and Mercury in the evening sky but not for long.

JAMES: While in the morning sky a crescent moon will pass by Venus on the 11th, the 12th and the 13th. And for the next few weeks the false dawn of Omar Khayyam, the zodiacal light, can be seen in the east about two hours before dawn in a dark, rural sky.

MARLENE: So, all five planets and a lot of dust give you a good reason to…

THREE: Keep looking up!

 

Episode #12-40 "The Planets Dance At Twilight And The Return Of The False Dawn"
Air Dates October 1 - October 7, 2012



ONE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
MARLENE: As fall begins we notice that it's getting darker earlier and earlier.

JAMES: And you'll see that the sun sets a little farther to the south each evening.

STOP AND DROP

MARLENE: And then after sunset next week look to the left of where the sun went down and see if you can spot Mars, Saturn and Mercury. They'll be quite low but give it a try.

JAMES: Then take a look to the east around 9:30 and you'll see Jupiter rising and taking over the evening planet business for the rest of this year.

MARLENE: Now let's switch to the pre-dawn sky facing east and brilliant Venus is sure to catch your eye. On the 11th you'll see a crescent moon about fifteen degrees above Venus. On the 12th the moon will have caught up with Venus and on the 13th will have moved well past it.

JAMES: After the 14th get up and get out about two hours before sunrise and look carefully at the area above and below Venus for the false dawn of Omar Khayyam.

THREE: Keep looking up!

 

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