WPBT2's Star Gazers

Episode #12-41 "Heads And Tails Of The Sky"
Air Dates October 8 - October 14, 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. Hey James, what's with the giant coin?

JAMES: Well, I was thinking about some of the October stars and it got me thinking.

DEAN: Oh no, you're not thinking about the heads and tails?

JAMES: Yep. There are several stars with names representing body parts. The Arab astronomers loved naming stars very specifically.

DEAN: Like the star Betelgeuse - which means 'armpit of the central one.'

JAMES: Exactly. Stars with the names beginning with Deneb, mean tail and stars with the prefix Ras, mean head. So let's look at some head-stars and tail-stars in the night sky. Call it -- heads or tails?

(STOP DROP)

JAMES: Okay we have our sky set to any night this week at 9 pm facing west. You'll notice our old friend, the summer triangle, is still sitting high in the sky.

DEAN: The three stars in the summer triangle are bright blue Vega at the bottom right, stark white Altair on the bottom left, and dimmer Deneb at the top of the triangle.

JAMES: Deneb is the star we want to concentrate on because this star marks the tail of an easy-to-see constellation called Cygnus the Swan. You can see the tail, wings, and long stretched-out neck flying down toward the western horizon.

DEAN: Deneb is perhaps the farthest star you can see with the naked eye. At about 3000 light years away it's humongous! Here's what Deneb would look like next to our nearly- million-mile-wide sun.

(STOP)

DEAN: There's another tail star over in the southeast, but don't confuse it with the brighter star named Fomalhaut shining more to the south. The star we're looking for is a second magnitude star marking the tail of the sea monster constellation, Cetus.

JAMES: And yes, it has Deneb in its name. It's called Deneb Kaitos or tail of the whale.

DEAN: And it's one whale of a tail… star. Deneb Kaitos is an orange giant 17 times as wide as our sun and almost 100 light years distant.

(STOP)

DEAN: Now let's look for heads. There are three stars in the fall sky that have heady names. Two of them are right next to each other but a little hard to find. We're looking back to the western sky at 9 pm this week. There's the summer triangle again high up in the west. Deneb is almost straight overhead.

JAMES: About halfway up in the western sky you'll see two stars - one is equal in brightness to Deneb Kaitos and the other, just to the right of it is slightly dimmer. The brighter one is called Rasalhague, which means ‘head of the serpent charmer.’ And there is the charmer himself, the constellation called Ophiuchus. Cue the serpent too. Ophiuchus looks more like a stretched-out pentagon than a guy holding a snake.

DEAN: Plus he's bumping heads with a more famous constellation, Hercules. The dimmer star next to Rasalhague is Rasalgethi which means ‘the head of the kneeler.’

JAMES: I hope you're not calling him dim.

DEAN: Never, but that's the position that Hercules is taking in the sky…
Kneeling upside-down. Hey James, can you do your Hercules impression?

(STOP)

JAMES: There is one more head-star over in the east. We've moved our sky forward to 10 pm now so we can see the whole sea monster constellation, Cetus, above the horizon with Deneb Kaitos over there too.

DEAN: To the left of Cetus’ massive head, we'll find Perseus the Prince.

JAMES: It looks like he's got something in his hand. Is that a head of lettuce?

DEAN: No, it’s the head of… Medusa!

JAMES: Oh, yuck!

DEAN: Picture the severed head of the Gorgon, with her snakes-for-hair still hissing as Perseus shows it to the sea monster.

JAMES: The sea monster turns to stone! And that star's name represents this tale. It's called Algol.

DEAN: Algol? Where's the Ras? Well, its full name is Ras Al Ghoul. Yes, Batman fans, that’s where they got the name of the Dark Knight’s fierce nemesis. His name means ‘the demon's head’ and there she is in the sky.

(STOP)

DEAN: So look for the Denebs and Rasses this week. In the west we have the summer triangle high in the sky with Deneb, the tail of the swan almost straight overhead.

JAMES: Halfway in the west you'll see Rasalhague and Rasalgethi bumping heads.

DEAN: And over in the southeast is the tail of the whale, Deneb Kaitos, and the demon's head, Algol turning everything into stone.

BOTH: Keep looking up!

 

Episode #12-41 "Heads And Tails Of The Sky"
Air Dates October 8 - October 14, 2012



ONE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
JAMES: There are several stars with old Arabic names that represent body parts.

DEAN: Stars beginning with Deneb mean tail and stars with the prefix Ras, mean head. Let's find some head-stars and tail-stars.

(STOP DROP)

DEAN: We have our sky set to 9 p.m. facing west. You'll notice our old friend, the summer triangle, is still sitting high in the sky.

JAMES: The star Deneb is at the top of the triangle and this marks the tail of Cygnus the Swan. You can see the tail, wings, and long stretched-out neck flying down toward the western horizon.

(STOP)

DEAN: About halfway up in the western sky you'll see two heads - I mean stars. The brighter one is called Rasalhague which means ‘head of the serpent charmer.’ The charmer constellation is called Ophiuchus.

JAMES: He’s bumping heads with a more famous constellation, Hercules. The dimmer star next to Rasalhague is Rasalgethi which means the ‘head of the kneeler.’

(STOP)

JAMES: So look for the Denebs and Rasses this week.

BOTH: Keep looking up!

 

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